, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – Kenya kicked off its 50th birthday celebrations at the Uhuru Gardens on Wednesday, where the flag was raised at midnight, reminiscent of the day way back in 1963 when the country marked its independence.
President Uhuru Kenyatta set the pace for the festivities with his speech in which he urged Kenyans to remember the freedom fighters by staying united and respecting each other.
“As we join hands to commemorate that golden moment and to honour all those whose labour and sacrifice made it happen, I ask you my brothers and sisters that we may pledge internal remembrance, gratitude and respect for their final achievement which has made us to live freely in a united country,” he urged.
Kenyatta recalled the historic moment in which Kenya breathed freedom and overcame many years of colonisation in which freedom fighters suffered in their quest to free the country.
“This, then, is the great night of our deliverance. It is the morning of our vindication. While it was a pitch dark midnight in our part of the world, here in Kenya, we only saw the bright moon and basked in the warm, blessed light of freedom, unity and justice. It was a great night, ushering a great morning and beginning the greatest days of our country,” he recalled.
In honouring the freedom fighters and enjoying the fruits of freedom, he urged Kenyans to stay united and work together to ensure that Kenya and the wider East Africa become prosperous.
He said without unity, it will be difficult for the country to achieve its goals of uplifting the lives of all Kenyans which was the wish and intention of the freedom fighters.
“If we are united as Kenyans we will manage, we should love one another, put our tribal differences aside. Our flag brings us together. We should remember that blood was poured because of us and we have the responsibility to unite Kenyans and know our tribes, colour, religion does not matter, our unity is what matters most,” Kenyatta asserted.
Though he acknowledged the challenges that Kenya is grappling with, Kenyatta was happy that Kenya was marking 50 years of independence which in itself is a major achievement that saw the country gain its freedom.
While he expressed confidence that Kenya has the potential to uplift and sustain its economy, he pledged that his government will deliver the promises it made to Kenyans.
“Over the next 50 years, we will make Kenya more glorious, and make our forefathers proud. We not only embraced independence with great rejoicing, we also undertook the responsibilities that accompany freedom with dedication and zeal. We will honour everyone whose constant service has brought us stability, prosperity and better government. We will banish corruption and laziness from our shores.”
Kenyatta further pledged to fight corruption which has been ailing Kenya for many ages and even put it on the international focus.
He was hopeful that Kenya will make even bigger achievements based on the immense impact the independence the country got 50 years ago.
“Tonight, we bear testimony of our fidelity to the aspirations of our freedom fighters, independence heroes and founding fathers. In time, we have overcome much to become a modern, open, democratic nation doing its best for its citizens and neighbours. Over the years, we have strengthened our self-determination, individual freedoms and accountable government,” he said.
He added: “Our independence has made us a greater, not lesser people. Africans are healthier, better fed, literate and richer than we were under colonialism. We have forged an unshakeable consensus to use our resources to bring a better life to all our citizens. We are on our way to becoming a richer and better country to live in.”
Kenyatta did not forget to thank the international community which he said has walked and stood with the country in its high and low moments.
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