20 October 2017

Kenya: Uhuru Kenyatta to Lead Mashujaa Day at Uhuru Park

Photo: Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Mashujaa Day celebration (file photo).

President Kenyatta on Friday led the nation in marking 53rd Mashujaa Day at Uhuru Park in the capital Nairobi.

On this day, Kenyans used to celebrate heroes who fought for their independence from Britain but has since been expanded to recognise individuals who have made outstanding contribution to the country in various fields, including sports, medicine, education, among others.

ELECTION

The Head of State, who arrived at the venue at 11.30am, addressed the nation on issues afflicting the country, including the repeat presidential election impasse and national security.

He assured Kenyans willing to vote in the repeat election next week of their security.

His government, he said, is ready to counter any threats to national security during and after Thursday's election.

His focus was the push and shove between his Jubilee Party and the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) on the fate of the poll that was ordered by the Supreme Court.

While Nasa leader Raila Odinga has argued that there will be no election after his withdrawal, President Kenyatta has insisted the poll will go as planned and threatened to deal with troublemakers.

Mr Odinga has also called for dialogue, a move opposed by President Kenyatta.

The opposition leader did not attend the national celebrations in Nairobi as he is scheduled to lead a parallel fete in Kisumu, one of his turfs in western Kenya.

The political stalemate has taken a beating on the economy, with investors adopting a wait-and-see approach.

The opposition has announced plans to hold countrywide demonstrations on election day.

But the president noted that whereas the Constitution allows demos and picketing, security personnel would not take lightly attempts to disrupt the right of those willing to participate in repeat poll.

"For those not willing to vote we will also respect their rights. But no right supersedes the other," he said.

He issued a stern to the opposition stating: "No freedoms will be abused to persuade impunity and create anarchy."

Deputy President William Ruto said Kenyans must vote next week to defend the country's democracy and the Constitution.

The DP reiterated that they will respect decisions of constitutional institutions, including IEBC and courts, whether in they favour Jubilee or not.

The Uhuru Park event was well-attended, mostly by supporters of Jubilee who cheered on Mr Kenyatta as he made his speech.

By 10.30am, leaders and ordinary Kenyans had already made their way to the venue, including Chief Justice David Maraga, his deputy Philomena Mwilu, Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka.

Mr Ruto, his wife Rachel, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, a host of Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and other high-ranking government officials also made it to the event before 11am.

Invited dignitaries and ambassadors were also mong guests who took seats at the VIP dais.

There was heavy police presence at the park and security men were screening everybody entering the venue.

Traditional dancers and choirs entertained guests before the arrival of Mr Kenyatta.

Reported by Kennedy Kimanthi, Alex Njeru and Silas Apollo.

Kenya

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