August 21st 2017

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At the grandest national fete, Kenyans still at the mercy of the elements

It is indeed unfortunate that the most important day in our national calendar should be disrupted by the natural elements. The entertainment section had to be shelved entirely as the masses were being drenched. A good number of those on the dais had no protection over their heads too.

By John Moyijmoyi@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 12 Dec 2016 16:22 EAT

Part of the crowd that turned up for the event. (Photo: Free Press Reporter).

Today's national Jamhuri Day fete was meant to be a joyous occasion full of pomp, colour and entertainment - with theatrical skits especially comedic pieces, choirs and a number of acts illustrating Kenya's large and varied ethnic mix. Sadly, the event turned out to be very low key. The day's programme schedule was disrupted by an unexpected heavy downpour.

The highpoint of the day was the trooping of the colour by the Kenya Defence Forces led by the Navy. As always it was fascinating watching the well-rehearsed and complicated moves by our impressive soldiers go through their paces, but the downpour started soon after they marched off the ground. It was a spectacle to behold seeing distinguished guests scampering for shelter in the heavy rain, not to mention the poor masses on the terraces who were absolutely at nature's mercy.

It is indeed unfortunate that the most important day in our national calendar should be disrupted by the natural elements. When planning an event of this magnitude, eventualities like vagaries of the natural elements should be accounted for, rain in particular but to some extent the sun too, which in our tropical clime can at times be intolerable. The entertainment section had to be shelved entirely as the masses were being drenched. A good number of those on the dais had no protection over their heads too.

After so many years of independence we should be able to ensure that not only the VIPs but also the wananchi, the common folk who take their time to add colour and necessary presence to these occasions, also sit in comfort rather than left at the mercy of the hot sun or rain. How much would it cost to guarantee them a roof over their heads?

Public servants also need to embrace latest methods of event organization and management. Remember, a good number of Kenyans also follow these events on TV. They look forward to watching the skits and also appreciating the latest so-called patriotic songs from the many choirs and individual singers. Next time please deliver a delightful and memorable fete to erase the memory of today's debacle.

John is an editorial quality advisor at the Kenya Free Press.





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