Big turnout at Mashujaa Day fete in Uhuru Park
One could easily confuse this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations for a political rally because of the huge, ecstatic crowd that attended the event.
As early as 7am, routes leading to Uhuru Park, the event’s venue, were already crowded with Kenyans from all walks of life – the old, young, rich, poor – streaming into the grounds to the mark the eighth Mashujaa Day fete.
Some carried miniature Kenyan flags with others literally donning the country’s flag to express their patriotism. Others were in Jubilee Party branded clothes.The intermittent sunny and cloudy weather provided a conducive atmosphere for the crowd.
“This is our country and we must celebrate our heroes and heroines for what they have done to this country,” John Kamau, a citizen, said.
Security officers drawn from all the disciplined forces left nothing to chance. They were strategically placed at all entrances to ensure everyone was thoroughly checked before being allowed into the venue.
The officers, some in civilian clothes, secured the ground from every corner. Some could be seen on top of Afya House and other tall buildings in the city.
Some mingled with the ordinary citizens, while others secured the dais where President Uhuru Kenyatta and other dignitaries sat.
Maroon Commandos and other local artists entertained the crowd and the guests with cool, patriotic songs.
By 11.30am, all guests, among them First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, his wife Rachel, Chief Justice David Maraga and Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate were seated.
At exactly, 11.40 am, the crowd went wild. The head of state was making his way into the ground in his Toyota Land Cruiser ceremonial car. He inspected a guard of honor mounted by the military.
Performances by various artists took place thereafter, paving way for the short speeches by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Deputy President William Ruto.
No opposition leader attended the event to honour the heroes and heroines who have fought for the country’s well-being. The NASA brigade held a parallel fete in Siaya and Kisumu to honour the victims of police brutality.
The President acknowledged the sacrifices our forefathers made to guarantee the freedom we enjoy today.