Eager and filled with the spirit of curiosity and patriotism, the residents of Kisii town made a long queue snaking towards the entrance of the venue of Mashujaa Day Celebrations as heavily armed security personnel milled around the Stadium to enforce law and order.
They had arrived as early as 6 am to attend a state event, one of its kind; and the first-ever state celebration to be brought to their doorstep.
The residents, masked and following the instructions of the security personnel entered the stadium and settled on their seats. They flushed out miniature Kenyan flags, mirroring the theme of the day- celebrating the heroes and sinking into the mood of patriotism.
Off the stands, as cameras took their glares to the podium, guests had arrived. Governors, senators, Members of Parliament among other leaders were dressed and settled ready for the celebration of 57th Mashujaa Day.
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ODM leader Raila Odinga entered in a navy blue suit waving at the people who answered back in ululation. Soon after Mr Odinga was Chief Justice David Maraga who arrived in the company of his two bodyguards.
At the background was the poetic voice of Master of Ceremonies Gibson Mwandawiro, ushering guests to the preliminary stages of the fete.
Capt Lieutenant Evance Oduma and his colleagues Peter Kimeu and Joseph Muturi would then lead the band in anticipation of the arrival of the commander-in-chief of the state.
Leaders continued streaming in as the military band played Jessy Dickson’s (1999) Master, the Tempest is raging rendition. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i would then arrive as cheers escorted him as he proceeded to take his seat.
In military uniform at the event was Nairobi Metropolitan boss Maj. Gen. Mohamed Badi who also took his seat. This would then be followed by the arrival of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who was clad in a checked African dress and a matching scarf.
At this juncture, Mike Gitoni had taken over the microphone as the Master of Ceremonis. Legendary musical group Maroon Commandos warmed the air with their hit songs such as Kenya nchi Yetu and Amka Kumekucha.
Uhuru and Ruto arrive
The songs would be briefly interrupted by the arrival of Deputy President William Ruto and his wife Rachel Ruto who walked to the podium and settled on their seats.
President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived with his motorcade with his mask on his chin and mouth.
The presidential motorcades flashed headlights moving around Gusii Stadium, serving the ground its maiden presidential occasion as Marron Commandoes belted out another song.
The president alighted from the car and soon the Kenyan National Anthem and the East African Anthem were played after which the Head of State presided inspected a military parade.
Upon settling on his seat the President Tucanos, MD 530Fs and F5s airforce planes performed a fly-past after which followed prayers from various faiths. One of them that captured the attention was a Gusii traditional prayer by Samson Nyamoko, who was dressed in animal skin and a flywhisk tucked in his right hand.
Veteran radio host Fred Machoka and Citizen TV host Lulu Hassan would then lead this session. The two were clad in matching outfits.
Musical performances took hostage of Gusii Stadium with the sound of obukano harmonising the background. And within few minutes, President Uhuru, Odinga, DP Ruto and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka among other leaders were up tapping shoulders in a dance.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae, the host, rose to begin inviting the speakers. Mr Odinga rose to the applause of the crowd as he talked of heroism and ending up with politics of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
DP Ruto would then rise to the ululation matching Odinga’s intensity. He carefully chose his words but ended with the message that BBI should involve national dialogue. He then invited the president for the final speech.