Kenyans welcome 2020 with gospel songs and fireworks

Gospel singer Emmy Kosgei performs during the Pamoja Concert at the Nakuru ASK Showground on New Year's Eve. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]
Fireworks, dance and worship marked the dawn of 2020 across the country.

In Nakuru, hundreds of residents turned up at the ASK Showground for the 9th edition of Pamoja Concert to usher in the New Year in song and dance.

Gospel artists led by Emmy Kosgei, Rose Muhando, Upendo Nkone, Guardian Angel, Shiru wa GP, Moji Short Babaa, Maggy Cheruiyot, Evelyn Wanjiru and Solomon Mkubwa, among others, graced the event.

The free concert, sponsored by the Nakuru County Government in partnership with The Standard Group, was aired live on KTN Home TV.

With a few minutes to midnight, KTN presenter Michael Gitonga and comedian YY led the audience in ushering in the New Year. Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, his deputy Erick Korir and other county officials took to the stage and soon the air was filled with shouts and cheers.

Mr Kinyanjui said the county would continue supporting local artists to improve their talent.

"We are hopeful of great things this year, including achieving city status and growth in investment across all sectors," he said.

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Emmy took to the stage a few minutes later and belted out her song Taunet Ne Lel (A new beginning) to a warm response from the audience.

Muhando also gave a great performance as the audience cheered on. The 44-year-old singer, who danced barefoot, looked youthful and energetic.

Munene Kamau, a resident who attended the concert, said the year had started with positive energy. “The performance here was excellent and we were blessed, too. This marked the end of one year and beginning of another in style."

In Nairobi, a few residents streamed to venues like the UAP Tower in Upper Hill to watch a fireworks display.

"I have been coming here for the last four years to witness the fireworks that welcome the New Year," said Miriam, who braved the midnight cold with her four-year-old son.

Kenya has gradually joined other nations in holding spectacular fireworks displays to welcome the New Year.

At the Ngong Racecourse grounds, Nairobi residents donned their best country music outfits to usher in the New Year, cowboy style.

Hats, boots, scarves and checked shirts set the mood at a music concert held at the Waterfront.

Country music singers Sir Elvis and Kare B, among others, entertained the revelers as Fred Omondi emceed.

ERUPT IN FIREWORKS

In Mombasa, the highlight of the celebrations was at the Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, Kibarani municipal dumpsite and top hotels, which erupted in fireworks and pyrotechnics at the stroke of midnight.

Thousands of revelers in Mombasa and Kwale also held beach parties as bands performed live.

Elsewhere in Kilifi, more than 3,000 tourists flocked to the county for the annual three-day Kilifi Festival.

County Tourism Director Hassan Sumba said the festival had improved the county's image as a tourist destination of choice.

The event is the first in Africa to host a carbon neutral festival to minimise emissions through comprehensive environmental efforts.

Marketing Manager Chia Kayanda said the festival had boosted local businesses and positively impacted the economy.

In Trans Nzoia, revelers took Kitale town by storm as they ushered in the New Year.

Local bars registered booming business after hundreds of people welcomed 2020 in style.

"We employed additional staff to ensure order among our customers. For us, business was good," said Silvanus Juma, the proprietor of Epic Bar.

[Julius Chepkwony, Yvonne Kawira, Elvis Ogina, Philip Mwakio and Osinde Obare]

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ASK ShowgroundPamoja ConcertNakuru County GovernmentThe Standard Group