Song and dance, military parades light up occasion
It was a show of magnificence at the Sh350 million new Wang’uru Stadium in Kirinyaga yesterday, where President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over his final Mashujaa Day Celebrations as he prepares to leave State House after next year’s election.
Kenyans from all walks of life braved a morning drizzle and queued in the seven entrances to the stadium where they where frisked by a combined team of military, recce and regular police officers and the National Youth Service (NYS) officers before being allowed into the stadium’s terraces decorated with Kenyan flag colours and facing a well-manicured ground.
At around 7:30am, when part of the crowd had already taken their seats, military officers drawn from the Kenya Air Force, Kenya Navy and Kenya Army, conducted a drill, in their combat uniform, at the stadium.
This was followed by entertainment by traditional dancers, the Maroon Commandos, Utawala bands and the State House choir.
At 11am – when the weather had changed from drizzling, chilly and cloudy to hot – the military officers returned to the stadium under the guidance of their band, this time wearing the ceremonial attire to announce that the celebrations were about to kick off.
Deputy President William Ruto, and his wife Rachael, were driven into the stadium at 11:18am.
The DP walked to the dais to greet the dignitaries who were perched on the elevated dais, among them former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, his Senate counterpart Ken Lusaka and Chief Justice Martha Koome.
He later returned to the foot of the dais to receive Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera who was gracing the event, and his wife Monica, who arrived at 11:22am for the event which had only three listed speakers.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, clad in elegant blue, alighted from her vehicle at 11:28am.
At 11:30am, President Uhuru Kenyatta, atop the Commander-In-Chief’s ceremonial vehicle made his entry into the grounds escorted by motorbikes. He was driven around the stadium as he acknowledged cheers from the crowd.
The first beat of the Kenya national anthem went up at 11:34am followed by the East African Community anthem. Thereafter, the President inspected a guard of honour escorted by the Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi.
Uhuru proceeded the dais to greet the dignitaries in line with Covid-19 protocols, but for Raila, it was a hug and pleasantries. He also had a short chat with Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.
Keen to demonstrate Uhuru’s achievements and boost the building of his legacy, the organisers played documentaries highlighting major developments while the entertainment was customised to praise the Head of State’s achievements in the past nine years.
The entertainment kicked off with a thrilling Mwomboko song by David Ngugi, whose real name is Kamoko, and Lawrence Ngugi, popularly known as DJ Fatxo, who have become a phenomenon after venturing into Mwomboko which is considered music for the older generation.
The pair’s performance was followed by Kikuyu music sensational Samuel Muchoki (Samidoh), Joseph Kanyi (Jose Gatutura) and Wangari wa Gioshe (Kareh B), Peter Kigia, Kariuki wa Kiarutara, Joyce Wa Wamama, Ben Githae, Wanjiru wa GP, Loise Kim and Akorino troupe, among others.
Uhuru said he was excited that the celebrations were happening in a county with great significance in Kenya’s history.
Celebrating Mashujaa Day in Kirinyaga County, he said, was significant for a number of reasons, among them being that, according to traditional folklore, Mt Kirinyaga (Mt Kenya), the Mountain of Mystery was created as God’s resting place and as a Sign of His Wonder.
“Celebrating Mashujaa Day in Kirinyaga County has a second historical significance. This county bears the name of the Mountain of Mystery, and so is our nation. And according to folklore, the naming came from one of our pioneer heroes called Chief Kivoi wa Mwendwa, born 240 years ago in 1780.
“Kirinyaga County is therefore at the heart of our rich heritage as a nation. The development of the then Kirinyaga District created out of the western part of Embu District in 1963, has closely mirrored that of the wider country, culminating with the advent of devolution,” he added.