Madaraka Day 2017
Madaraka Day Celebrations 2017
By Uhuru Kenyatta
My father President Jomo Kenyatta once said: “Unity can not be taken for granted.”
We will be celebrating this year’s Madaraka Day in the shadow of national elections. As is usual and perhaps expected and most certainly welcome, elections are a time for robust discourse, and a pitting of opposing worldviews and ideologies. Unfortunately, in the past, election campaigns and their aftermath have brought out some of the worst times in the Republic of Kenya’s relatively short existence and have set Kenyan against Kenyan of differing tribes, faiths and backgrounds.
Madaraka Day is an important day to take stock and recognize that as Kenyans what unites us is far greater than that which divides us.
It took Kenyans of all backgrounds to free us from colonialism, gain self-rule and finally independence for our people. We must pay tribute to and commemorate their sacrifices as a nation.
Their vision and determination should continue to not only inspire us but also to motivate our people to work together to continue grasping the opportunities bestowed upon us by Kenya’s founding mothers and fathers.
The greatest tribute to those who fell in battle or survived to birth our nation is to remain united and not be torn apart through ethnic boundaries, tribal perimeters or religious differences.
Madaraka Day should be a time to look back to the past as a way of charting a brighter, more peaceful and prosperous future.
Our heroes of the past are those who put their lives on the line in the moral and timeless struggle for freedom from oppression, injustice and persecution.
However, more than five decades since independence, our heroes should be those members of the Kenyan armed forces who remain ever vigilant against those who still seek us harm, in our homes, villages, towns and cities.
Today’s heroes are also the teachers who educate our children, the doctors and nurses who care for our ill and infirm and the small honest business leaders and farmers which help drive our economy forward.
The heroes of Kenya’s tomorrow are those parents who work extremely hard every day to ensure that their children receive an education in order to guarantee that they have the promise of a brighter and more prosperous future.
However, the struggle for the future that we seek is not assured and there remain forces who wish to return us to the more unsavoury chapters of our nation’s past.
Our independence is incomplete if our disagreements are settled not in court or in the voting booths, but on our streets with the use of threat of violence and intimidation.
Our struggle for freedom remains even if we are an independent nation. We still wrestle with baseless hatred, militant tribalism and rampant division.
In just over two months Kenyans will elect a leader for the next five years. This leader must be someone who moves us further away from these diseases and not strengthen their presence in Kenyan society.
Elections should be a great celebration of hard won democracy and liberty, a time when the nation speaks and elects a leader who will serve the people and their interests. However, we should all remember that the people remain the sovereign and the leader is a mere tool of their will.
Sometimes this basic societal covenant is forgotten or dutifully ignored in a quest and thirst for power and control. As politicians, our language and orotundity should reflect this basic commitment and while our political differences should be sharpened in order to provide a clear choice to the Kenyan people, it should be done in a way reflective of our deep and cherished values. These values handed down to us as a treasure of wisdom by our ancestors.
The challenge for us as political leaders is to look not just to the immediate future but the medium and long term. We need to be able to say to our sons and daughters, Kenya’s children, this is what we bequeathed to you and we left our mark on this country for the better.
That is my focus every day, the planning for our children’s future. Especially to connect, unite and unify Kenya in an unprecedented way.
On this Madaraka Day, let us remember we should not be defined by our political, tribal or ideological allegiances, but by our nationality.
Before our tribal, religious or ethnic allegiances or identities, we are Kenyans and our nation’s progress and development depends solely on us.
As our national anthem states: “Let all with one accord. In common bond united. Build this our nation together.”
President of the Republic of Kenya
Madaraka Day 2017 Celebrations
Nyeri county will host national Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1 and about 20,000 people are expected.
Nyeri is in the heart of Central Kenya region, considered a Jubilee Party stronghold.
This will be the third national celebration held by the Jubilee administration outside Nairobi.
Earlier events were held in Nakuru and Machakos counties.
In December 2015 President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that two of the three national holidays henceforth would be held outside Nairobi.
Last year they were to be held in Nakuru and Mombasa.
Mombasa was dropped, possibly as a result of the feud between Governor Hassan Joho and the Jubilee administraiton.
Instead, Machakos hosted Mashujaa Day on October 20.
Jamhuri Day on December 12 is always held in Nairobi.
Nyeri is famous for its contributions to the freedom struggle and many Mau Mau fighters were from Nyeri.
A high-profile government delegation, which is organising the event, on Tuesday toured Kabiruini ASK Grounds where the event will be held.
National Celebrations Committee chairperson Mohammed Barre said Kabiruini is the only Nyeri venue that meets standards to host the event.
He said, however, it needs renovation.
The team had inspected historic Ruring’u Stadium but tall buildings nearby made it unacceptable and posed a security risk.
The President and Deputy President William Ruto will lead the celebrations.
Barre said they are working closely with the regional coordinator and the county government to ensure infrastructures are in place.
Central regional coordinator Naftali Mung’athia assured everyone of adequate security.
County secretary Alice Wachira said it is a great honour for the area to host a national event.
“The day is very important to the Nyeri people, given that it is the epitome of the freedom struggle, as well as home to many freedom heroes,” she said.
Wachira said the event would showcase the county, increase domestic tourism and highlight the county’s sacrifices to the freedom struggle.
Madaraka Day 2017
Madaraka Day, 1 June, commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence on 12 December 1963. The President addresses the nation, and the uniformed military, singers, and traditional dancers from around the country provide entertainment for the crowds.
The day is full of festive activities, including family picnics and games in the public parks.
History of Madaraka Day Celebrations
During the Colonial Rule Period disputes over land were common, leading to the Mau Mau rebellion by the Kikuyu people in 1952, which effectively put Kenya into a state of emergency for the next seven years.
The first direct elections took place in 1957, with the Kenya African National Union(KANU) led by Jomo Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu, forming the first government.
On 1 June 1963, Kenya became a self-governing country when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became the first prime minister.
Full independence from British rule followed on 12 December 1963 when Kenya became an independent nation.
The Significance of Madaraka Day in Kenya
Madaraka Day is celebrated in Kenya on June 1 every year and is historically the first post-Independence National Day in the calendar.
It is one of the National Holidays envisaged by Article 8 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Before 2010, Kenyans celebrated Madaraka Day, Moi Day (which October 10), Kenyatta Day (October 20) and Jamhuri Day (December 12).
The new constitution did away with Moi Day Day and changed Kenyatta Day to Mashujaa Day (Heroes’ Day).
Madaraka Day commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence from Great Britain on December 12, 1963
Under Article 8 of the constitution, the national symbols of the Republic are the National Flag; the National Anthem; the Coat of Arms; and the Public Seal.
The constitution also decrees that national days shall be public holidays.
The original aim of public holidays is to maintain a sense of unity and cultural belonging among the people. The national days used to have a lot of significance at the formative stages of our nation, where nationalism prevailed over all other considerations.
It would be inconceivable for citizens to violate the importance that is attached to the Day. As the President is the symbol of national unity, it would be expected that he or she lead the citizens of any nation in marking the national pride that comes with the Day.
From the legal point of view, nothing stops any Kenyan or group of Kenyans deciding to mark any of the national holidays at any place and in a manner that is within the law. What will not be allowed, for example, is a group of Kenyans interfering with the smooth running of the celebrations organized by officialdom.
The History of Madaraka Day in Kenya
Madaraka Day, celebrated every June 1st, is the day set aside annually to commemorate Kenya becoming a self-ruling nation.
Mid 1800s: British settlers arrive in East Africa.
1895: They eventually establish the East African Protectorate, which promotes European settlement in some of the most fertile parts of Kenya, forcing Kenyans out from their land.
1920: Kenya is officially a British colony, and European settlers are allowed to participate in government. However, Africans are prohibited from direct political participation.
1944: A few appointed (but not elected) African representatives are allowed to sit in the legislature.
1952 – 1959: Kenyans begin to rebel against British colonial rule and its land policies. This rebellion takes place almost exclusively in the highlands of central Kenya, home to the Kikuyu. Detention camps and restricted villages are established to contain the Kikuyu insurgents. Tens of thousands of Kikuyus die in these areas and in the fighting. There are estimated to be approximately 650 British deaths.
1957: Following the rebellions, Africans are given many more opportunities to participate in politics. The first elections to elect Africans to the Legislative Council take place in this year.
June 1, 1963 – Madaraka Day: Kenya becomes a self-governing country. Jomo Kenyatta, at this time the head of Kenya African National Union (KANU), becomes the first prime minister.
December 12, 1963: Kenya becomes an independent nation.
December 12, 1964: Kenya becomes a republic, with Jomo Kenyatta serving as the first Kenyan president.
Madaraka Day Celebrations – President Uhuru Kenyatta Speech.
Madaraka Day Quotes
- “Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
- Our founders got it right when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our rights come from nature and nature’s God, not from government.
- “Liberties aren’t given, they are taken.”
- “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.”
- “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”
- “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”
- “I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.”
- “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”
- “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
- “I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.
- “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush-fires of freedom in the minds of men.”