Major events that shaped Uhuru Park

Mwai Kibaki receiving a sword from Daniel Moi during Mwai Kibaki's swearing in as the third president of Kenya on December 30,2002 before an estimated crowd of 500,000 at the uhuru park grounds
Its strategic location in the city is what makes it convenient; it is easily accessible to those in need of a place to relax, unwind and meet up with old friends.

For parents and guardians keen on low-budget amusement for their children, Uhuru Park is the best option. For just Sh50 your child (or the child in you) can enjoy a boat ride.

However, this is not what Uhuru Park is known for. It is perhaps best known for hosting some of the country's most memorable political gatherings.

A section of the park, aptly named Freedom Corner, has a monument. This is where the mothers of political prisoners detained in early 1992 camped and staged a hunger strike to demand their release.

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When police were unleashed on them, the elderly women stripped naked, causing the uniformed officers to scatter for fear of being cursed.

In 1996, Maurice Cardinal Otunga led a silent protest at the park, where condoms were burnt to signify the Catholic Church's stand on the use of contraceptives.

In 1989 the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai staged a protest against a Government plan to put up a 60-storey building in the park.

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Doctors, nurses and teachers also used Uhuru Park as a protest venue for the better part of 2016 and 2017 to push for better salaries.

Yesterday’s 'swearing-in' of Opposition leader Raila Odinga was, therefore, just the latest in such events.

Only two presidents have been sworn in at Uhuru Park - Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki. This was in October 1978 and December 2002 respectively.

Raila’s political career has revolved around this 12.9-acre parcel of land that has become his ‘home stadium’.

It was here that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, which is led by Raila, was unveiled in October 2007.

This was after the unveiling of the 'NO' campaign that had an orange as its symbol, which later gave birth to the party following the victory against the Constitution referendum.

In 2002, before Kibaki and Raila fell out, a declaration was made at Uhuru Park by the ODM leader in support of Kibaki's bid for the presidency. The declaration is famously known as ‘Kibaki Tosha’ (Kibaki is sufficient).

It worked - Kibaki won the election and was sworn in at Uhuru Park, seated in a wheelchair as he read out loud his oath amid cheers.

But the political marriage did not last long and Raila returned to Uhuru Park in October 2007 to launch his own presidential campaign.

He did not win but ended up being Prime Minister after a controversial loss.

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