, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1- Kenyans from all walks of life converged in various places to usher in the New Year in style.
While some chose to celebrate the New Year in churches and other places of worship, others were in clubs, restaurants or at their homes.
In Nairobi, throngs of revelers cheered and shouted out as fireworks lit the skies from various spots to signal the beginning of a brand New Year.
“Happy New Year, I am glad to cross over. 2017 was a tough one,” one reveler yelled, staggering from a club on Moi Avenue in Nairobi’s Central Business District which remained busy throughout the night.
At the Don Bosco Church in Upper Hill, hundreds of worshippers were singing and praying as part of their tradition in ushering in the New Year.
“God is Great,” Mary Kamau said shortly after midnight amid ululations from fellow worshippers, “We thank God we have made it.”
At the Safari Park Hotel, hundreds more families were making merry to usher in the New Year, with fireworks all over.
Places of worship in formal and informal settlements were packed to capacity, amid tight security.
“Goodbye 2017…” some were heard yelling out in joy.
In his New Year message, Bishop David Oginde of the Christ is the Answer Ministries urged Kenyans to let go of the past and ask God for healing, after the electioneering period that left many politically bruised.
“I want to call upon Kenyans as we get into the New Year. Let us forget the things that have happened. Let us trust those things to God and trust him for a brighter future,” he said, and cautioned that “unless we as a people, really, commit ourselves to building a nation, a New Year will not bring anything. It is just like another day.”
John Gathara, a Nairobi resident who spoke to Capital FM News described 2017 as a monumental year, highlighting the celebration of 100 years since his Church, the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi was founded.
“Not many remember to celebrate things, but the purpose of c celebrations is either you are happy that you have achieved what you wanted or you have lasted long,” he said.
In his New Year message to Kenyans, President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to work even harder to fulfill his promises to Kenyans.
“I will work every single day in 2018 to deliver. I urge you to include in your New Year resolutions a pledge to greet every new day with a renewed dedication to add value in your job, and to become your neighbour’s minder and protector,” he pledged.
Deputy President William Ruto in his New Year message acknowledged the country’s sportsmen who conquered the world in various tournaments particularly athletics.
“We pay tribute to our sportsmen and women for their exemplary performances and raising our flag high; to patriots for their selfless acts and each citizen for playing their part in making Kenya great,” he said.
Ruto called upon every Kenyan to dedicate himself to country and be mindful of the welfare of others.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga described 2018 as a year when he will scale his push for “electoral justice.”
He also outlined some of the activities he intends to pursue to push for the reforms.
“NASA has two ways to realize these goals. We can sit down on the negotiating table with our Jubilee opponents and discuss how to fix our electoral system, reform the executive, protect the judiciary, reform the security sector and strengthen devolution,” Odinga said in a statement.
Odinga said his coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA) was ready for dialogue or else, “we take the issues to the people and let them decide without the involvement of the State.”
Within the first week of the New Year, he said they intend to unveil a program of civil disobedience, peaceful protests, non-cooperation with and resistance to an illegitimate regime in addition to People’s Assemblies.