Thousands of people thronged beaches, entertainment spots and churches to usher in the New Year.
Despite the threat posed by the Omicron variant, nothing could dampen the spirit of Kenyans as they celebrated.
Revellers poured into entertainment venues in all major towns where they indulged and danced 2021 away.
Music enthusiasts were spoilt for choice on which events to attend to usher in the New Year.
In Nairobi, thousands of young people turned up at The Carnivore Grounds, where an array of artists entertained.
The show was headlined by Jamaica’s finest, Konshens.
Others who performed included Fena Gitu, Khaligraph Jones, Sol Generation and Charly Black, another Jamaican artist who had also jetted in for his concert.
For Mugithi lovers, Samidoh, Kareh B and Joyce wa Mama kept their fans entertained the whole night at a concert dubbed ‘Mugithi Finest’ concert at Barclays Club along Thika Road.
Amapiano lovers were not left out, as they were treated to non-stop music at the Anzana Gardens, Ruaka. In Mombasa, H_art the Band kept revellers entertained at Pride Inn Paradise in Shanzu.
As midnight struck, fireworks lit up the scenes as different organisations celebrated the New Year. UAP Old Mutual also hosted a fireworks display at KCB Towers in Nairobi’s Upper Hill at a ceremony graced by the Group Chief Executive Arthur Oginga.
These were scenes that were replicated in major towns as Kenyans welcomed the New Year.
In Kilifi, ODM leader Raila Odinga and a host of other politicians across the political divide converged at Bofa for the New Year countdown. Raila said 2022 was the year for prosperity and the country’s economic takeoff.
He said President Uhuru Kenyatta had laid a firm ground that would act as a springboard for the country’s economic revolution. Revellers at Bofa, the home of Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli were entertained by Congolese musicians Nyboma and Faya Tess.
Meanwhile, in Mombasa fireworks lit the skies as happy revellers celebrated on New Year’s eve. Pirate Public Beach was a hive of activities as people sat on the sandy beaches, enjoying meals and drinks as they awaited midnight to watch the fireworks from the five-star hotel along the beach.
Elizabeth Wanjiku said it was a blessing to be out again with her family to celebrate the New Year without any restrictions or fear of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mark Aminga who visited Mombasa for the New Year’s festivity said despite being a long year full of challenges, he was happy to usher in another year with his family.
Night clubs in Bamburi, Mtwapa and Nyali also registered huge numbers of revellers. Ken Ongor, a club security manager at a club in Bamburi said they were overwhelmed by revellers and forced to lock out other people.
In Mombasa, Christians prayed for a peaceful and prosperous year free from Covid-19. In the North Rift, residents ushered in the New Year with lots of celebrations.
Some churches had activities while other congregants marked the event at home - fearing the spread of Covid-19. West Pokot residents, church and political leaders flocked Chelangaa Gardens in Makutano town to usher in 2022.
Led by Governor John Lonyangapuo, locals celebrated as gospel music rent the air. The climax of ushering in the New Year was when Prof Lonyangapuo displayed fireworks as locals shouted and screamed with joy.
Addressing locals, Prof Lonyangapuo said it was a blessing to enter into 2022 after the county faced calamities including drought and landslides in 2021.
In Nakuru, the congregation kept off churches while nightclubs were filled to the brim. Churches within and without Nakuru town were half-empty with services going to around 11pm.
At Kingdom Seekers Church, faithful flocked in to usher in 2022. The countdown to midnight ended with ululations, shouts, and fireworks.
Rev Fr Lawrence Mbogo who led mass at St Monica Catholic Church in Lanet warned faithful against being used to cause chaos as Kenya gears towards elections in August, this year.
“Why should we bleed because of politics? We are sure that God will walk with us to elections,” said Fr Mbogo.
He urged parents to guide and discipline their children, who are usually at the forefront in causing chaos and burning schools. “Schools that survived for 50 years and made doctors, teachers and leaders were destroyed within minutes. It is disheartening,” he said.
He also advised faithful to get vaccinated against Covid and rubbished myths that the vaccine was harmful to human beings. Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui urged Nakuru City residents to embrace each other in peace and love.
[Reports by Joackim Bwana, Irissheel Shanzu and Edward Kosut and Daniel Chege]