This year’s Madaraka day celebration, the first ever national fete marked in Kisumu County, was notable for a breach of protocol that proved popular with the crowd as President Uhuru Kenyatta invited his ‘Handshake’ partner Raila Odinga to give his speech just after Deputy President William Ruto had addressed the occasion.
Dr Ruto had been invited to give his address by Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o after which, as protocol demands, he invited President Kenyatta to speak.
However, the crowd turned wild after the Head of State requested to break the protocol and invite Mr Odinga to speak.
“Today I’ll break protocol briefly, you’ll forgive me, before I speak, I wish to invite my brother Raila Amollo Odinga, Jakom to speak to you and convey his Madaraka day greetings,” President Kenyatta said amid applause from the crowd.
In his speech, Mr Odinga drummed up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) saying it will foster unity of the country.
“We want to continue uniting Kenyans through the BBI and that’s why we urge you to support the initiative,” Mr Odinga said.
Dr Ruto in his speech had underscored the need to build a nation anchored not on personalities but on constitutionalism.
“As we celebrate this 58th Madaraka Day we are reminded that our forefathers worked hard, toiled, shed blood so that we can have a democratic nation.”
“A nation built not on the foundation of tribes or ethnicities but built on the foundation of institutions, a robust legislature, a performing executive, an independent judiciary and other independent institutions so that we can all celebrate the firm foundation of the rule of law not the rule of men,” said the DP.
He went on: “It will be an act of great betrayal if we allowed ethnic bigotry and personality cults to destroy the firm foundation of constitutionalism and the rule of law in our nation. Our forefathers will be proud to see us move forward as my brother Anyang’ Nyong’o has already elaborated.”
The former Langata MP said that it is regrettable that more than 50 years after independence, Kenya is still struggling with three key problems including poverty, illiteracy and diseases that were earmarked to be eliminated in the 1960’s.
Additional reporting by Collins Omulo