KISUMU, Kenya, Jun 1 – Dozens of residents in Kisumu and the larger Nyanza region were turned away from the Kisumu International Sports Stadium on Tuesday as police cleared those invited to attend the Madaraka Day celebrations whose attendance has been restricted to 3,000.
The event marking the 58th anniversary since Kenya attained self-rule is the first such celebration to be hosted in Kisumu.
Police officers opened the gates at the venue at about 6.30am with all invited residents expected to have made their way into the venue by 9am.
A number of residents who showed up without invitation cards were turned away as security officers strived to maintain physical distancing at the sports complex in line with coronavirus containment protocols.
The health ministry heightened vigilance in the lakeside city after several cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant were confirmed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to arrive at the venue at 10.55am taking a 10-minute drive from the Kisumu State Lodge.
Deputy President William Ruto was expected at the venue at 10.45am shortly after the guard of honour matches into position in readiness for President Kenyatta’s arrival.
Chief Justice Martha Koome, Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly, Ken Lusaka (Senate) and Cabinet Secretaries were expected to have arrived at the venue at by 10.40am.
Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi was expected to arrive at 10.30 shortly after the service commanders.
Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye who arrived in the country on Monday will be the Chief Guest at the event.
Other leaders expected at the event include Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister and President Kenyatta’s newly found political ally, as well as former Vice Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi.