Kenya honoured its 79-year-old president, Jomo Kenyatta, on Saturday (20th October) with a massive demonstration of loyalty and affection.
Kenya honoured its 79-year-old president, Jomo Kenyatta, on Saturday (20th October) with a massive demonstration of loyalty and affection. Crowds of thousands marched through the streets of the capital Nairobi, carrying placards of praise and portraits of President Kenyatta. Their demonstration marked "Kenyatta Day" - the 21st anniversary of President Kenyatta's imprisonment by the British in Kenya at the start of the Mau Mau emergency.
President Kenyatta spent nine years in jail. Soon after his release in 1961, he became President of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), a political body formed during his detention. He became Kenya's first prime Minister in 1963 and led his country to independence later that year. In 1964 when Kenya became a Republic, Kenyatta was made President.
After the procession, President Kenyatta addressed a mass rally at Uhuru Park. His speech demonstrated that he had lost none of his flair as a fiery orator. After brief remarks in English, President Kenyatta directed an earthy homily in Kiswahili at his predominantly African audience. Dressed in the heavy leather jacket he was wearing when he was arrested in 1952 and brandishing his customary flywhick, the President later led the crowd in chanting "Harambee". This is the national motto that Kenyatta gave Kenyans at independence. It translates from Kiswahili as "everyone pulling together."
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of Kenyans marched through the streets of Nairobi on Saturday to demonstrate their loyalty and affection for their 79-year-old President, Jomo Kenyatta.
"Kenyatta Day" marks the date 21 years ago, when President Kenyatta was arrested by the British in Kenya.
After nine years in jail, Kenyatta was released. He quickly emerged as a leader. In 1963 he was elected Prime Minister and later that year he led his country to independence.
In 1964 when Kenya became a Republic, Kenyatta was made President.
President Kenyatta arrived at the rally which followed the procession wearing the leather jacket he'd worn when he was arrested in 1952. It has become a symbol of his struggle for Kenya's independence and as much a part of his personality as the flywhisk he always carries.
Kenya's National Assembly unanimously expressed their loyalty to the President on Friday. At the rally, he was presented with a Loyalty Scroll on behalf of the nation.
After the traditional celebration, President Kenyatta addressed the crowd and warned that if anyone played with Kenya's freedom, he would be crushed "like an insect". Then the President led the crowd in chanting the national motto "Harambee".
The chant "Harambee" translate form Kiswahili as "everyone pulling together".
President Kenyatta had harsh words for those who had not welcomed independence. He called them "idiots" and said such people were "the colonialists' bootlickers."