Kenyans will enjoy an extra day of rest and recreation as part of the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations after Friday, December 13, was declared a public holiday on Tuesday.
This means that the public will have four days of celebrations since the two national holidays will be followed by a weekend.
Dr Hassan Wario, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture said President Kenyatta will declare December 13 a public holiday to give Kenyans more time to celebrate the country’s 50 years of independence.
Ten presidents have already confirmed that they will attend the celebrations, which have been planned to be a replica of the 1963 events.
At least 20 heads of state are expected to attend the festivities.
“With our President now as the chair of the East Africa Community, we expect a heavy presence of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda,” Dr Wario said, adding, “The ceremony will begin and end with both our national anthem and the anthem for the EAC.”
Festivities begin on the night of December 11 when President Kenyatta is set to hoist the national flag at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.
This is the same spot where his father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, did the same on the night the Union Jack was brought down and the national flag went up to mark the end of colonial rule.
INSIDE THE STADIUM
President Kenyatta will also plant a tree next to the one planted 50 years by his father at the same venue.
Dr Wario, also the chairman of the Kenya@50 celebrations national steering committee, said preparations for the festivities were complete and asked Kenyans from all walks of life to take part in the re-enactment of the independence celebrations.
The main event of the celebrations will be hosted at the 60,000-capacity Safaricom Stadium Kasarani from where the President is expected address the nation on Jamhuri Day.
Dr Wario said close to 150,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony. Arrangements will be made to ensure that those who fail to find space inside the stadium can follow proceedings from the adjacent field.
National holidays have traditionally been celebrated at the Nyayo National Stadium, but this will be the second major national event to be held at the recently renamed stadium in Kasarani. The first was President Kenyatta’s inauguration in April.
Dr Wario said those attending the Kenya@50 festivities at the stadium will be free to celebrate overnight.
The countdown to the celebrations began on Mashujaa Day, which was marked on October 20, when President Kenyatta unveiled a special logo that combines a lion motif and the colours of the national flag.