Low turnout at Kasarani Stadium for Jamhuri Day celebrations raises eyebrows

Members of public during 54th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Kasarani Stadium on 12/12/17. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi were marked by low turnout.

By 10am, which was the official time the event was scheduled to start, only about 10,000 people had made their way to the 60,000-seat capacity stadium, resulting in a delay in the day’s programme as organisers waited for more people to troop to the venue.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was scheduled to arrive at the stadium at 10:45am, arrived an hour and ten minutes later, at 11:55pm.

Compared to the November 28 presidential inauguration ceremony, when the stadium was filled to the brim, empty terraces greeted the Head of State as he made his way into the venue.

Kenyans took to twitter with comments about the day’s poor turnout  compared to Uhuru’s swearing-in ceremony two weeks ago and last year’s event.

Trending hashtag

Under trending hashtag #EmptyKasarani, Kenyans on Twitter(KOT) had varied views on the low turnout.

SGI_Oriaro‏ @sgoriaro48 posted: That crowd at Kasarani Stadium could fit at Ruto’s Sugoi home or Uhuru’s Gatundu. Next time please don’t misuse public property. #EmptyKasarani #JamhuriDay #NotYetJamhuri

Philip @EtalePhilip tweeted: They transported people to Kasarani two weeks ago to lie to the world... today they have been left with an egg on the face #EmptyKasarani

Fel Matasio‏ @FelMatasio tweeted: A 65k seater capacity hosting an individual who garnered over 7m votes, yet even half the seats not occupied. #EmptyKasarani.

Despite the low turnout, everything else went on smoothly. Hawk-eyed security guards frisked the public before allowing them into the next screening gate. They did not leave anything to chance - not even water bottles were allowed through.

Before being allowed into the stadium, another team put the public through a second security screening.

Gospel musicians Joseph Shisia and Ben Githae entertained the crowds before the President arrived.