Robin Obino @obinorobin
Excitement and display of patriotism was evident at Kasarani Stadium from as early as 7am, when the gates opened for the members of the public attending yesterday’s Jamhuri Day celebrations.
Thousands of citizens turned up in style, some donning national colours and waving miniature national flags. From the attire and performances by various entertainment groups, including the disciplined forces, the event was a sight to behold for those in attendance and millions who followed the proceedings on television. It was an occasion which combined an appreciation of the country’s cultural diversity, national heritage and creativity.
Attendants were treated to song and dance by local artistes, cultural dancers and the Kenya Army band, the Maroon Commandos. Nothing was left to chance in ensuring security of everyone.
Those attending the event were frisked at the entrance by security officers and vehicles searched. A spot check revealed heavy deployment of security personnel in and around the stadium.
The who-is-who in government was in attendance. First among State officers to arrive to cheers from the terraces was Chief Justice David Maraga who made his entry at 11:40am. He was followed by several Cabinet secretaries led by Fred Matiang’i (Education and acting Interior) and Raychelle Omamo (Defence).
Deputy President William Ruto followed soon after. Former Ghanaian president John Mahama arrived minutes before First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. Riding a ceremonial Land Rover and adorning a ceremonial sash, President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at midday to a song by Ceremonial Trumpeters of the Kenya Defence Force and rousing cheers from the crowd. Four minutes later, the national anthem was played.
The President was escorted by the Chief of General Staff Maj-Gen Samson Mwathethe to inspect the guard of honour mounted by the Kenya Defence Forces.
This was shortly followed by a display of aerial prowess by the Air Force wing of the military flying past the presidential dais with their fighter jets and later helicopters with banners inscribed “God Bless Kenya”.