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Uhuru to lead Jamhuri celebrations

Festivities to mark independence day at Kasarani Stadium will be the first since President was sworn-in for second term

Irene Githinji @gitshee

President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to lead the nation in marking the 54th Jamhuri Day celebrations this morning, the first national holiday of his second term.

Uhuru, who was sworn into office with his deputy William Ruto on November 28 will preside over the fete that will be a departure from the past in that it will be held at the Kasarani Stadium, and not the traditional venue, Nyayo National Stadium.

The day that marks the attainment of Kenya’s independence from the British, had been shadowed by a plot by Opposition leader Raila Odinga to be sworn in as the “people’s president”, a plan which has since ben called off.

The event comes at the head of a prolonged electioneering period that saw Uhuru preside over the last national event, Mashujaa Day on October 20, as a presidential candidate, after his victory in the August 8 election was nullified by the Supreme Court on September 1 and a fresh poll ordered for October 26.

The last of presidential election-related events took place yesterday, with six Supreme Court judges reading out unanimous full judgement giving detailed reasons why they upheld Uhuru’s victory in the October 26 repeat election.

Government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe said the gates to the 60,000-seater arena will be opened as from 7am and urged Kenyans to turn up in large numbers to celebrate, adding that security is guaranteed.

“Being one of the most important dates on the country’s calendar, Kenyans are once again invited to rally in unity around the values of patriotism and moving the country forward in the spirit of Kenya Mbele.

The event, which will be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta will be marked by military and police parades, cultural songs and dances and the ceremonial raising of the national flag among other activities,” said Kiraithe.

During his swearing-in at the same venue two weeks ago, Uhuru pledged to unite all Kenyans from across the political divide, affirming that he will be the President for all and called on elected leaders to join him in serving Kenyans without regard to political affiliation.

Competing visions He also undertook to be the custodian of the dreams of all and to be the keeper of aspirations for those who voted for him and those who did not. President Uhuru said the election was not a contest of good versus the bad dreams but of two competing visions geared towards the well-being of all Kenyans.

“We may have chosen different candidates and different visions but each one of us voted for a better life. I, too, listened carefully to my competitors and in the spirit of inclusivity, I will endevour to incorporate some of their ideas.

This is because the election was not a contest between a good dream and a bad dream. It was a contest between two competing visions,” he said. His speech today is largely expected to outline the development plans in the Jubilee manifesto and to strike a conciliatory tone following up on his pledge to be the president for all Kenyans.

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