, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – The energy and euphoria at the Kasarani Sports Stadium… oh wait… the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani was exhilarating as hundreds of Kenyans thronged it, choosing to forget their national challenges for the day.
Corruption scams, the ethnical divides and the rift between the haves and the have-nots were ‘dropped’ for the day, as the country marked 50 years of freedom.
Even the stern faced security officers would not deter Kenyans from making their way to the stadium, as they ran to secure their place and make sure that the police officers did not lock them out once President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived.
“I came here a bit late but I am glad I got in because I just wanted to see things first hand. I have never been here although I have seen the upper part of the stadium which is visible from the highway,” said Daniel Odhiambo, who said he was seven years old but was clearly five times that age.
Civilians were not allowed to cross the road when a convoy of Very Important Person (VIP) passed.
And one unlucky fellow almost had his plans to the stadium cut short when he picked up his phone as a VIP convoy was passing.
The word ‘hello’ as he was responding to the call caught the attention of a female police officer who quickly struck him on the back ordering him to get rid of his phone.
The shocked man fled for safety while at the same time ditching his phone call.
“Where is that man so that we can teach him some lessons,” asked the officer.
Several security checks had been placed at the entrance and no food, beverages or even empty containers were allowed in.
Olive Burrows, a journalist, was forced to leave her empty lunch box behind with the polite police officer informing her that it was all about the sheria (law).
But once inside, the jubilation caught on.
The official programme started with the East African anthem, followed by the Kenyan National Anthem and the firing of the 21 gun salute.
“One, two, three… 21,” counted a small section of the crowd as each shot of the 21 gun salute went off.
Gospel and secular artists also took the stage with their songs in a bid to show Kenya’s 50 years of music.
Then came the traditional dancers from Nyanza, Western, Eastern, Coastal and Central regions.
A single file of different troops was formed on the tracks, waiting to be introduced to their Excellencies and the crowd.
The excitement that took the air as the dancers gyrated their bodies to song and dance, was nothing like the gloomy weather witnessed in Nairobi City for the better part of the morning.
Business people also made a kill selling different merchandise including miniature Kenyan flags retailing at Sh100.
“You will not go inside if you do not have something with the colours on the Kenyan flag on you,” shouted one aggressive trader.
Burundian dancers who would give the Maasai a run for their money with their ‘jumping dance’ and the beautiful Rwandese women, with their graceful dance were also at the event to represent their countries.