Kenyans Wednesday turned out across the country in celebrations to mark 55 years since independence from Britain.
In Mt Kenya region, hundreds converged at various stadiums to celebrate Jamhuri Day.
County and sub-county commissioners read President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech while governors took the opportunity to outline their achievements, one year after getting into office following the August 2017 elections.
In Nyeri, the day was marked at Naromoru Stadium in Kieni East in a move by Governor Mutahi Kahiga to take the celebrations to sub-counties.
Nyeri County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia and Kieni MP Kanini Kega also joined locals in the celebrations.
Calls to leaders to embrace unity dominated the day.
In his speech, Mr Kega took a swipe at Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed over the decision to postpone the implementation of the new curriculum
The MP said that the CS has failed Kenyans by reverting to the 8-4-4 system which was set to be phased out.
"You cannot introduce a new system then revert (to the old one) midway. Was there a feasibility study before bringing the new system?" the MP posed.
In Wajir there was low turnout during the Jamhuri Day celebrations.
All the six MPs from the county skipped the Jamhuri Day celebrations held at Wajir Stadium.
Only Governor Mohamed Abdi and a handful of MCAs graced the occasion.
Calls for peace and harmony was the main agenda at the event.
Mr Mohamed Hassan Mumin, the county’s peace chairman, called on the government to prosecute all the perpetrators of clan clashes that have posed a great challenge to the county.
“I appeal to the government to arrest all the suspects behind clan violence and harshly punish them,” he said.
Governor Abdi called on the security personnel to carry out a crackdown on drug peddlers in a bid to solve the drug menace that he said has greatly affected the youth in the county.
In Isiolo, County Commissioner John Ondego, Deputy Governor Ibrahim Issa, County Secretary Ahmed Galgalo and officials from both the county and national governments attended the celebrations.
Guests were entertained by women, men and youths from the five cosmopolitan communities residing in the region during the event at Isiolo Stadium.
Dr Issa, who represented his boss, Governor Mohamed Kuti, highlighted the administration's one-year success.
Issues of contracts for special groups, talent among the youth and the problems associated with drug abuse were raised by some leaders.
WA IRIA SKIPS EVENT
In Murang'a, the Jamhuri Day celebrations took place at Rurii Stadium in Mathioya Sub-County led by County Commissioner John Elungata.
Elected leaders who were present including Woman Rep Sabina Chege, Senator Irungu Kang’ata and Mathioya MP Peter Kimari faulted Governor Mwangi Wa Iria for snubbing the occasion.
The senator said it had become a habit for the governor to snub national government functions in the county.
"During such occasions the governor should be leading the county residents because the events are national holidays," Senator Kang’ata said.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Kimari and Ms Chege who called for unity among leaders.
PROBE LOW TURNOUT
In Kisii, there was low turnout at the celebrations which were led by County Governor James Ongwae.
Empty chairs and a nearly empty stadium almost marred the event with County Commissioner Godfrey Kigochi calling for a '”post-mortem” by leaders in the region to determine the reason for low turnouts at national events over the years.
Mr Kigochi said the probe should be done as soon as possible without apportioning blame on anybody.
“Let us sit down to know why our people are shunning these events. We can easily turn things around," said Mr Kigochi.
Governor Ongwae used the occasion to highlight his development record to the residents.
He also warned corrupt county officials saying he will be ruthless in dealing with those who dip their fingers in public resources.
Mr Ongwae said a 250 bed male hospital ward at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital has been completed and will be opened soon by the President.
In Kakamega, there was song and dance at the Bukhungu Stadium during the Jamhuri celebrations despite low turnout.
Only the main dais and a few stands at the stadium were occupied. The rest of the stands were largely empty.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and County Commissioner Abdinuzak Jaldesa led residents in marking the day.
Lurambi MP Titus Khamala and his Ikolomani counterpart Bernard Shinali were also present.
Residents asked security teams to come up with tight security measures during the December festive period.
Mr Khamala asked Governor Oparanya to work closely with President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure security is enhanced in the county.
"Governor Oparanya has achieved a lot since he was elected in 2013. His development track record speaks for itself. We now want Kakamega elevated to a city by 2022," said Mr Khamala.
BIG FOUR AGENDA
Governors in the North Rift used the Jamhuri Day celebrations to pledge support for the Jubilee administration’s Big Four agenda.
Key local issues also dominated speeches by county bosses.
In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang said his administration is committed to transforming the health sector and that all the hospitals have been supplied with sufficient drugs.
He warned lazy health officials that they will not be tolerated.
“Staff found neglecting their duties and mishandling patients will be sacked and replaced [with] those ready to serve the public. We have revived all non-functional health facilities in the in Nandi,” he said at Kabiyet town where the celebrations were held.
PEACE IN THE RIFT
In Baringo, Governor Stanley Kiptis said that peace is slowly returning in the troubled areas in the county and called on the warring communities living along the insecurity-prone spots in the region to co-exist peacefully especially during the festive season.
"There is a need for better equipment for security teams on the ground because it is the only way we can remedy the perennial insecurity menace," said Mr Kiptis at Kabartonjo Primary School where the day was marked.
Baringo North MP William Cheptumo called on the government to deploy more police reservists and security officers to bring normalcy in the troubled areas.
"We want our people in the insecurity prone areas to celebrate the Christmas festivities peacefully. This will only be achieved if the government intensify patrols and deploys more security officers," said Mr Cheptumo.
In Uasin Gishu, corruption and maize issues dominated the speeches at the 64 Stadium in Eldoret town.
In a speech read by his deputy Daniel Chemno, Governor Jackson Mandago urged public servants to refrain from engaging in graft.
Mr Chemno also asked the Strategic Food Reserve Fund to announce by January the price for maize for growers ahead of the next planting season to enable farmers make informed decisions.
"We no longer want farmers to wait and be told the price when they are about to harvest,” he said
He questioned why the Ministry of Agriculture has delayed registering farmers, claiming that this could be a plot to protect the cartels.
"We want the investigations into the maize scandal not to target small scale farmers and traders who are genuine but those who imported maize," added the deputy governor.
County commissioner Hassan Abdi urged residents to report cases of corruption to the relevant authorities.
Reporting by Nicholas Komu, Vivian Jebet, Bruhan Makong, Ndung’u Gachane, Magati Obebo, Benson Amadala, Flora Koech, Tom Matoke and Stanley Kimuge