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[VIDEO] Hawk-eyed security men leave nothing to chance at Madaraka Day fete

Pomp, colour and dance marked the country’s 51st Madaraka Day celebrations Sunday as thousands of Kenyans turned up to relive memories of the struggle for self-rule.

They braved the scorching afternoon sunshine to listen to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s address to the nation as hundreds of security officers kept vigil within and outside the Nyayo National Stadium.

President Kenyatta arrived at Nyayo Stadium at 11.20am and broke tradition when he was ushered into a waiting armoured Land Cruiser and not the usual ceremonial open Land Rover.

The President made his way around the stadium aboard the Land Cruiser, open from above but scaled up with bullet-proof glass, as the military left nothing to chance in the wake of terror attacks.

The motivation for the change was unclear but speculation was high that it could be part of the heightened security measures.

 The armoured car was at odds with Uhuru’s previous public appearances where he has been reported to break ranks with his security detail to shake hands with the masses and even carry children.

Uhuru’s ride on the vehicle came just hours after the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) decried the deteriorating state of security in the country.

Thousands of Kenyans used with seeing the President atop the ceremonial Land Rover had to struggle to see Uhuru through the partly opaque windows as two other Land Cruiser armoured vehicles joined his convoy around the stadium.

Dressed in a red tie and a grey suit, Uhuru could not wave above the bulletproof windows and had to be towed by tens of security officers, others in sunglasses just to make sure everything went as planned.

GSC personnel

One of the armoured vehicles was stationed some 30 metres away from the VIP dais with hawk-eyed security officers taking turns atop it to keep surveillance at the stadium.

KDF soldiers encircled the stadium, armed to the teeth just to make sure security was guaranteed as the dreaded GSC personnel kept vigil within the stadium.

Police officers both in civilian attire and others in uniform sat at the terraces with the crowd as they beefed up security in the wake of terror attacks.

Those who turned up for the celebrations underwent thorough security checks and screening before being allowed into the venue.

Business was low for hawkers who over the years have cashed in on such occasions. During Sunday’s celebrations, no hawking was allowed.

“I arrived here at 8am and I have been denied access to water or food. They (security) officers forced us to pour the water we had packed in bottles and even threw away some food we had because they could not allow us enter with any foodstuff,” complained Gladys Njeri.

Traditional dances and patriotic songs from civilians and members of the disciplined forces provided an eclectic blend of entertainment.

Former secular music artiste turned gospel musician Size 8, was on stage with her popular Mateke tunes that drove the well-attended stadium euphoric and the audience were left asking for more.

But it was the General Service Unit (GSU) choir that left the crowd mouths open. Its “uzalendo” tune literally electrified the audience, seeking to enlighten them on the importance of the security initiatives aimed at ensuring Kenyans know at least ten of their neighbours.

President Uhuru Kenyatta rode in this armoured and bulletproofed vehicle at Nyayo Stadium Sunday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta rode in this armoured and bulletproofed vehicle at Nyayo Stadium Sunday.

ARMOUREDTOYOTA

President Uhuru Kenyatta rode in this armoured and bulletproofed vehicle at Nyayo Stadium Sunday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta rode in this armoured and bulletproofed vehicle at Nyayo Stadium Sunday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta rode in this armoured and bulletproofed vehicle at Nyayo Stadium Sunday.

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