, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret led government officials, Catholic Bishops and thousands of youth to a mugithi jig at the Kasarani stadium where Pope Francis winds up his trip to Kenya and launched his inaugural tour of Africa.
A celebratory mood pervaded the stadium as the youth and dignitaries danced to Kenyan gospel songs as they awaited the arrival of Pope Francis.
The mugithi train was formed when the Master of Ceremonies invited the Bishops in attendance to dance to Evangelist Joseph Wasira’s Omundo Omulosi before asking the Head of State to join in.
President Kenyatta then led the Bishops, the First Lady, his Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and others in dancing in a line to the mugithi and Emmy Kosgei’s Taunet Nelel.
The train came to a stop when the Pope arrived and the youth treated him to the Mexican wave they’d been practicing prior to his arrival, while he was at St. Joseph’s parish in Kangemi.
It was one of the notable moments that have marked Pope Francis’ historic visit to Kenya. He received thunderous applause when in his ‘opening remarks’ to Kenyans – when he was received at State House — he blessed Kenya in Kiswahili, “Mungu abariki Kenya.”
His choice of vehicle, a Honda and an open air Popemobile crafted from a pick-up, have also stirred debate on servant leadership and what it means to be a public official.
The heavy downpour that followed his arrival was taken as symbolic by a number of Catholic faithful as showers of blessings brought by him.
But beyond the surface, Pope Francis’ fearless tackling of Kenya’s present day challenges was noteworthy.
In fact just minutes before his grand reception at Kasarani, the Pope shamed, “faceless private developers,” who went as far as grabbing public school land.
In his address to the youth at Kasarani, he took on the subject of corruption which President Kenyatta asked him to pray about at his State House reception.
“When we take a bribe and we put it in our pocket we destroy our hearts, our personality and our country. Corruption is not a path to life, it’s a path to death,” the Pope cautioned.
Extremism, tribalism, the erosion of family values and the culture of impunity were not left out either.
Following his address to the youth at the Kasarani stadium, Pope Francis was to meet clergymen in the same location before making his way to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for Uganda, the second stop on his inaugural tour of Africa.