Kenyatta Declares End to State Commemoration of Founding Leader Jomo Kenyatta

President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret are assisted to lay a wreath at the Jomo Kenyatta mausoleum in Nairobi on August 22, 2019.
22 August 2019

Nairobi — The family of Founding President Jomo Kenyatta has declared an end to an annual national commemoration of the late Head of State citing persistent politics over dynasties.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the decision on Thursday when he led the country in commemorating the 41st anniversary since the death of the founding President which was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto.

"As president, I have consulted the family of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and we have agreed that this is going to be the last celebration 41 years of Mzee done in this manner. We shall each celebrate as we remember him and in the manner in which we will be doing our things going forward," Kenyatta said.

He also warned unnamed leaders against the politics and debate of dynasties in the country, following statements from critics who often refer to him and Orange Democratic leader Raila Odinga as being from dynasty families.

Uhuru is the son of Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta while Odinga is the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who served as Vice President in Kenyatta's government before they fell out.

With Uhuru Kenyatta being Kenya's fourth president, critics often take a swipe at him, following the March 2018 handshake with Odinga, saying they are sons of Kenya's dynasty families out to maintain a grip of power.

The remarks appear to have angered the president who broke his silence Thursday.

"You know when you hear people out there, you know they talk this person or that person is a dynasty. It is not about that, leadership is not about where you were born. It is not about where you came from, it is not about your tribe. It is just about the desire to serve. A desire to do good, a desire make a difference in the lives of people and everyone can do that," he said.

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