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All systems go as Kisii hosts Mashujaa Day

By Harold Odhiambo | October 20th 2020

Vehicles have been barred from Kisii town streets with security beefed ahead of Mashujaa Day celebrations. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

The Mashujaa Day celebrations have brought Kisii to a standstill as thousands of residents turned up to witness the event.

In the wee hours of the morning, jubilant residents eager to grace the occasion lined up across the streets of Kisii.

There were long queues next to the Gusii stadium where the event is set to take place with residents eager to celebrate their heroes and heroines.

Not even the morning cold could stop the elderly from lining up to for several hours to gain access to the stadium.

Several security agencies patrolled the town as they moved to ensure that order is maintained.

Unlike in the past where the town is always crowded with motorcyclists and unruly matatu operators, Kisii town resembled a new city with strict observance of law and order.

Police officers had mounted roadblocks across the town with vehicles barred from accessing the town's Central Business District. Only authorized vehicles were allowed access.

Authorities had also improved the town's infrastructure ahead of the event.

Along the streets, pictures of some of the region's heroes were placed on billboards.

A number of residents told The Standard that they had already queued at the entrance of the stadium as early as 5 am.

Joshua Nyakori, a father of two, said that the celebration was one of its kind in the region.

He claimed that he has been attending the past celebrations for the last 30 years without fail.

"I do not want to be locked out of the stadium and that is why I decided to wake up early and be among the first people to enter the stadium," he said.

But he was not alone, several other residents narrated how they had to brave the cold to ensure that they find a seat at the Gusii Stadium.

For Eunice Mwenda, she claims she did wake up at 4 am to prepare for the event.

She claimed she is hoping to see some of the heroes from the region also feted for their contributions in the region.

"I am a big fan of our daughter Hellen Obiri who is one of our heroines. I am hoping she will be feted today and that is why I woke up early to grace the occasion," she said.

ODM leader Raila Odinga arrives at Gusii Stadium. (Eric Abuga, Standard)

At the entrance of the stadium where the celebrations are set to be held, strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols was enforced.

By 7:30 am the military band had already started entertaining the guests.

Invited guests including some of the dignitaries started arriving at the venue early in the morning.

The celebrations came as a blessing for a county that has been on an upward economic trajectory.

For the last two days, businesses especially the hotelier industry made a kill as hundreds of visitors attending the event sought their services.

Hotel owners said that the celebrations came at the right time when most of them have been struggling to come out of the woods after Covid-19 affected their income generation.

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