, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – The government has declared Friday, December 13, a public holiday as part of celebrations to mark Kenya’s 50th birthday.
Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who chairs the committee organising the national celebrations, said all preparations were in place for the fete to be marked in all the 47 counties.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to lead the main celebrations on December 12 at the newly renamed Safaricom Sports Stadium, Kasarani in a programme that will include performances by musicians and other arts groups.
“His Excellency the President has rewarded all our efforts with a public holiday on December 13 so that Kenyans can put their best step forward as they dance to the tune of our celebrations of 50 years in every corner,” he said. “During this period, we are going to mark the stability of our growth, hard work and commitment to this country.”
So far, 11 Heads of State invited to the celebrations have confirmed attendance, with more expected to confirm in the coming days.
“We comfortably expect 20 Heads of State to grace this occasion and we are ready to host them,” Wario stated. “We have completed all the preparations for accommodation and transport and security and all the things to do with the protocol,” he said.
The Kenya@50 celebrations will begin on December 11 at the historic Uhuru Gardens on Langata Road where the national flag will be hoisted at midnight to symbolise what happened at the exact time in 1963.
The historic grounds are currently closed and off-limits for the public as it gets a facelift ahead of the event.
According to Wario, renovations at the grounds which will include the sprucing up of the monuments and landscaping is currently ongoing and he stated that entrances and exits to be used during the celebrations will be clearly demarcated and sittings arrangements for invited guests planned out.
The unveiling of the Kenya @50 logo by President Kenyatta on Mashujaa Day was the launch of the publicity and awareness activities.
There were also a number of key legacy projects identified by the secretariat aimed at protecting the environment, as well as transform the health, arts and education sectors among others.