Photo courtesy of standard Media
The 58th annual Madaraka day celebration was this year held in the lake region for the very first time. Madraka Day is a public holiday that celebrates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963 thus becoming a self-governing country with Jomo Kenyatta as the first prime minister. This year’s Madaraka day celebration was different from the last two Madaraka day celebrations that came at a time when the country was gripping with Covid-19.The 2020 Madaraka Day celebrations were modest, with little to no activities as compared to 2021 which was characterised by a beehive of activities.
From congregating at the lakeside city to launching projects, the renovation of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, a special visit from Burundi president Evariste Ndayishimiye and the usual stadium celebrations, stage performances the 58th Madaraka day was marked with a buzz of activities.
Due to COVID-19-related regulations, only 3,000 guests were allowed to attend the event, including prominent government officials, such as President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, and Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o. Strong security measures were put in place.
The high number of people who turned up for the national event held at the Jomo Kenyatta International sports complex made significant Covid-19 containment measures hard to maintain. At the gates leading into the stadium, security agencies comprising of the military police, police officers, prison warders and national youth service (NYS) officers left nothing to chance. From screening guests to ensuring no one slipped through the entrances without a face mask on.
Upon landing in the lakeside city, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena on Saturday asked the residents to follow the event on their TVs and avoid crowding as a way to safeguard themselves from the vicious virus. However, the message appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as the way leading to the stadium was filled with people even though they knew they couldn’t get into the venue.