Unforgettable Madaraka Day Events

Boniface Mwangi pictured at Central Police Police Station on July 7, 2020.
  • Every 1st of June, Kenya comes to a standstill to commemorate Madaraka Day. It was on this very 58 years ago in 1963, that Kenya attained self-governance from colonial rule, with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta named as the country’s first-ever Prime Minister.

    As preparations are ongoing in Kisumu to host this year’s celebrations, we will look at some of the unforgettable events that have taken place during the celebration.

    Maiden Madaraka Day Celebrations

    On June 1, 1963, Kenya was declared independent and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was appointed as First Prime Minister.

    Boniface Mwangi pictured at Central Police Police Station on July 7, 2020.

    United East Africa

    In 1975, leaders from the East African region led by Uganda’s Idi Amin Dada, Emperor Haile Selassie honoured Jomo Kenyatta’s invitation and attended the celebrations, demonstrating the unity of the region.

    Silenced Voices

    Political activist  Boniface Mwangi and a fellow journalist heckled President Kibaki as he began reading his speech in June 2009. The two were quickly apprehended by plain-clothed police officers and taken to Nyayo Police Station. They were then transferred to Langata Police Station and charged.

    Not So National

    Kenyan’s took social media to express their concerns about the Independence Day celebrations held in Kabiruini Stadium, Nyeri County in 2017. They raised concerns about the dominant use of a local language ( Kikuyu) during a national event. The moderators, radio presenters from Inooro

    Nyeri Governor, Samwel Maathai, took to the podium to ask the crowd to vote for him and campaign for a Jubilee Party presidency in the August 2017 general elections. While trying to explain the occurrence, Jubilee politicians claimed kikuyu language was used because Nyeri residents were predominantly from the Agikuyu community.

    One Nation

    June 1, 2018, saw President Kenyatta and the Opposition Leader Raila Odinga share podium for the first time since the handshake in March the same year. This was after the country witnessed high tension after the 2017 General Election.

    File image of Kenyan bank notes
    File image of Kenyan bank notes

    Money Moves

    In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta, through the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Patrick Njoroge, officially launched the New Generation Bank Notes. The move was meant to catch individuals who allegedly hid huge chunks of money in their homes and could not account for it.

    Trouble in the Capital

    Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris stormed out of the county Madaraka Day celebrations held at Pumwani High School, Nairobi.

    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Woman Rep Esther Passaris during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon in 2018.
    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Woman Rep Esther Passaris during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon in 2018.
    Daily Nation

    Passaris and former governor Mike Sonko were engaged in a public altercation accusing the governor of frustrating her efforts to set off development projects using the Affirmative action fund and not being able to reach him.

    “ We cannot fight corruption if we keep dishing out money everywhere. Money that cannot be accounted for,†stated Passaris.

    She also questioned the governor’s strained relationship with Starehe MP, Charles Njagua.

    Sonko responded to her stating that any projects had to be done within the required procedure and that nobody was above the law.

    “Let us not politicize development. I Am not your husband who will answer your calls whenever you call,†Sonko replied.

    Passaris left the grounds as the governor continued with his speech.


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