Jamhuri day is regarded as Kenya’s most important holiday. It marks the date of Kenya’s independence from the United Kingdom, her colonial master. It is celebrated annually on the 12th of December.
This year, Kenya should be marking her 53rd Jamhuri day celebration but there is a decided feeling of dissatisfaction at Kenya’s progress over the years that have led some citizens to stage a protest even as celebrations get underway.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was leading the nation in celebrations from Nyayo national stadium, Nairobi, with governors and county commissioners taking charge in counties. Meanwhile, a group gathered at the City Centre, to protest. According to a poster doing rounds online, they are urging citizens to “Take Back Kenya and take a stand against corruption.”
The protest is not unexpected. Kenya’s health sector is currently in the midst of a crisis as doctors strike over wages, corruption scandals have continued to rock the nation and at least 40 people were killed in a highway explosion this past Saturday.
With such hanging disasters, Kenyans do not feel like this Jamhuri day deserves much celebration. It is a day meant to celebrate the country’s cultural heritage and look back at their journey to independence and it would seem that Kenyans do not like where they are as a country currently.
President Kenyatta, who seems to be removed from the sentiments of his people, invited Togolese President Fare Essozimna Gnassingbe as the special guest at this year’s Jamhuri day commemoration.
The President is expected to give a speech and song, dance and food as well as an elaborate military display are also expected. The President will also recognize the country’s heroes and heroines for their leadership in national development; it is expected that he will honor 40 governors this year with a Head of State commendation for their dedicated and outstanding service to the nation.
Kenyan police have already used teargas canisters to disperse the group of protesters intent on Taking Back Kenya and subsequently arrested three people. Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome said the group had not been permitted to protest. The protesters allegedly fled to Jevanjee Gardens where they have said that they will proceed with another march.