, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – In a fully packed stadium, history repeated itself as President Uhuru Kenyatta led Kenyans in celebrating Mashujaa Day at the Nyayo National Stadium.
A choir and musician who performed for Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta performed for his son, the current President of Kenya.
The two brought nostalgia to the stadium, as Kenyans recalled the challenges Mzee Kenyatta and the rest of the freedom fighters faced.
“It was sad when the announcement was made that our father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had been arrested together with six other leaders; we all cried,” the choir recounted.
Another performer was 72-year old Sal Davies who had composed a song for Jomo Kenyatta during his heydays.
“This is an honour; to have performed for the founding father and now his son,” he said amid applause from the audience.
Away from the norm where the President is invited by his deputy, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Hassan Wario welcomed the President to make his speech.
Veteran broadcaster, Leonard Mambo Mbotela recalled to Capital FM News the importance of the day.
“It’s a day of appreciation to all those who have played a role in the development of this country,” he said. “We have every reason to celebrate; a while ago, we had only one media station… look at how the industry has developed.”
He expressed optimism that the country was on the right foot saying, “We are continuing scaling heights.”
Other than being a national event marked every October 20, it was the first under the Jubilee Government and the fourth since promulgation of the new constitution in 2010.
During the ceremony, the Head of State launched the [email protected] celebration calendar, starting off activities lined up to mark the country’s 50 years of independence.
He recalled that the cost of the independence struggle was painful because colonialists did not consider Africans equal human beings worthy of rights.
Heroes were killed and imprisoned while the rest were stigmatized and hunted down like animals, the President noted.
“The brutality our independence heroes underwent from 20th October, 1952 until the attainment of self-government 10 years later defies imagination. It is the reason that we have reverently emblazoned our national flag with the red of their sacred blood,” he said.
He acknowledged the unshakable courage, conviction and sacrifice of all those who have served the cause of freedom in Kenya and in Africa.
To honour the legacy of the country’s freedom icons, the President said Kenyans should reject all forms of domination and manipulation.
He said external forces seeking to thwart the country’s collective aspirations must be confronted head-on.
“They may be powerful and rich, but so were the colonialists. They may disrespect and even hate us; we have defeated their ilk before,” the President said.
He emphasized that the struggle to defend the country’s independence is a daily calling for all Kenyans.