State mulls changing Madaraka Day venue over Covid concerns

Kanze Dena

State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena addresses journalists at State Lodge in Kisumu on May 29, 2021. President Kenyatta will arrive in Kisumu on Sunday ahead of the Madaraka Day celebrations on Tuesday.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Plans to mark this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu are being re-evaluated in the wake of the Covid-19 situation in the county and specifically in the lake region.

Reports indicate that the official celebrations could be held at State Lodge Kisumu, and not at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium as earlier planned, but the final decision is yet to be made.

According to State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena, consultations on the issue are ongoing.

Ms Dena, while addressing Kisumu journalists at State Lodge, Kisumu, on Saturday, said a decision would be made by the end of the day after the comprehensive consultations involving the county government.

High Covid-19 numbers

Kisumu has lately been recording high Covid-19 numbers, topping the list of high infections a few times in recent weeks.

The situation in the lake region does not also look good, with counties neighboring the lakeside city also recording worrying trends.

State House has confirmed the President's three-day official working visit to Nyanza region starting Sunday when he arrives accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. He will be received by his host, ODM Leader Raila Odinga.

Ms Dena said the most important consideration during the President’s three-day official working visit will be strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols, encouraging residents of Kisumu to follow proceedings on TV as the events will be televised live.

Stay at home

“Yes, there is excitement, but we urge you to stay at home because of Corona. Our televisions will cover the events live,” she said.

On Monday, the President will receive Burundian President Evariste Ndashimiye who will be accompanied by his wife, Ms Angeline Ndashimiye.

Plans to have the President and Mr Odinga make a maiden arrival trip to Kisumu by train via the revamped Nakuru-Kisumu railway line have been shelved, Ms Dena confirmed. The two will make the trip later, she said.

Upon arrival, the President is scheduled to embark on launching projects which include the revamped Kisumu port and the new Uhuru business complex which are close to the President’s heart.

The President may not, however, be able to visit all the projects which were scheduled for launch across Nyanza region.

“Consultations are still going on, but not the entire launch programme will be covered because of the Corona protocols,” Ms Dena stated.

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