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Narok Stadium full hours ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations

Saturday June 1 2019

GEORGE SAYAGIE
By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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Narok residents brought the town to a standstill from as early as 9pm on Friday, gathering in thousands at Narok Stadium ahead of Saturday's Madaraka Day celebrations.

Kenya holds national celebrations on June 1 every year to celebrate attaining self-rule in 1963. This year's celebration is the 56th.

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the celebrations that President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead.

Members of the public wait to enter Narok
Members of the public wait to enter Narok Stadium hours head of Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Narok residents are pictured outside Narok
Narok residents are pictured outside Narok Stadium as many wait to be granted access ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Large crowds of people were pictured at the stadium through the night and early Saturday, some with their children, waiting for the national event to begin.

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Many walked to the venue as Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Chimwanga Mongo said only vehicles with special passes would be let into the town and the stadium.

Driven by patriotism or maybe curiosity, some of the people trooped to the stadium as early as 2 am. By 4am, all the terraces reserved for the public were full.

Asman Said, from Majengo estate, said he arrived at 3am while Narok town residents Felister Ritiken, Loice Sempele and Joyce Sempele were pictured sleeping on the sand at the stadium with five children.

Mr Asman Said, a resident of Majengo estate,
Mr Asman Said, a resident of Majengo estate, wait at Narok Stadium for the start of Madaraka Day celebrations after arriving at 3am. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Members of the public wait inside Narok Stadium
Members of the public wait inside Narok Stadium hours for the start of Madaraka Day festivities on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Some crowds forced the stadium's gates open hours to the scheduled opening time of 5.30 am, some saying they spent the night there after negotiations with security officers.

A spot check by the Nation found all the 10 gates mobbed by large groups.

Students pose for a photograph outside Narok
Students pose for a photograph outside Narok Stadium ahead of Madaraka Day festivities on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Eager members of the public wait to be let into
Eager members of the public wait to be let into Narok Stadium ahead of Madaraka Day festivities on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Eager members of the public wait to be let into
Eager members of the public wait to be let into Narok Stadium ahead of Madaraka Day festivities on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Security officers were forced to lock the gates to keep the people away, causing a push and pull as they tried to make their way to the gates.

Outside the facility, queues stretched as far as 500 metres along Narok-Bomet road.

Security was beefed up in and around the stadium.

A woman is helped to Narok Stadium on June 1,
A woman is helped to Narok Stadium on June 1, 2019, for celebrations to mark the 56th Madaraka Day. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP