, MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct 20 – It was all pomp and color as thousands of Kenyans from all walks of life trooped into the newly renovated Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa to celebrate Mashujaa day, to honour Kenya’s heroes and heroines.
Flags and drapes with the national colors filled the scenic seafront Mama Ngina Park which was hosting its first-ever event after a major renovation by the national government that is said to have cost Sh640 million.
There was heavy security deployment at the park and police were on hand to screen and guide the high number of guests.
The celebrations were led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and were attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, top Military officers, envoys among other top government officials.
Formations from several units of the Kenya Defense Forces, the National Police Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service, National Youth Service, the County Council of Mombasa and Mombasa Fire Brigade marched past the dais with precision.
For the first time in history, the Kenya Navy entertained guests with a display of maritime prowess led by flagship the KNS Jasiri with a 21-gun salute that was followed by a convoy of her sister ships and vessels from the Coast Guard.
The Airforce thrilled the crowd with a flypast showcasing different types of aircraft in formations while performing spectacular maneuvers.
Veteran broadcasters Leonard Mambo Mbotela, Sammy Lui and Ali Salim Manga were recognized and honoured for ushering traditional entertainers who were drawn from the coastal communities.
After colorful dances from Taveta, Giriama, Pokomo, Mijikenda and Taita troupes, a mass choir composed of schoolgirls treated the crowd to a well-choreographed, colorful Taarab Shairi just before the official speeches.
The highlight of the day came when President Uhuru Kenyatta honoured World Marathon holder Eliud Kipchoge with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart (EGH) award for his outstanding world conquering performances.
“I wish to invite and recognise Eliud Kipchoge with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart,
Eliud has proved that everything is possible by becoming the first human being to complete a marathon in under 2 hours,” he said.
Amid cheers and ululations, President Kenyatta bestowed the golden sash and a medal to the athlete as other dignitaries on the dais cheered on drawing a curtain to the festivities.
Mombasa was the sixth county to host the Mashujaa day celebrations after Nyeri, Meru, Machakos, Kakamega and Narok counties.