President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa were guests at the 50th Independence Day celebrations held this morning at the Moi International Sports Complex (MISC) in Kasarani on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The Independence Day festivities began at midnight on Thursday at Uhuru Gardens as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta hoisted the flag and planted a commemorative tree.
Kenya’s independence movement got its footing when members of the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba tribes, in 1942, took an oath to fight for freedom. This is what evolved into the Mau Mau Movement, and in 1952, Jomo Kenyatta, the current Kenyan President’s Father, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for his involvement with the Mau Mau Movement. He remained in prison for 10 years and became Kenya’s first prime minister when he was released in 1962. After Kenya gained independence from the British Dec. 12, 1963, Jomo Kenyatta became the country’s first president.
President Rajapaksa and the First Lady joined a number of other African leaders for the celebrations, including the President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Malawi Joyce Banda, President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, President of Congo Joseph Kabila and the President of Eritrea Isaias Afewerki.
The former President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto were also at the event among other dignitaries.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and Minister of Civil Aviation Mr. Geethanjana Gunawardena accompanied the President to the event.