Puzzle over Madaraka Day venue after spike in Kisumu COVID cases

President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his Madaraka Day speech on June 1, 2020 at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his Madaraka Day speech on June 1, 2020 at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | PSCU

It is yet not clear whether the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu will be held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo as earlier scheduled.

Also Read: Kisumu COVID-19 cases surge as Kenya records 9.9pc positivity rate

State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo said talks between county and national government officials are still underway.

She said this follows the spike in coronavirus cases in the lake side city and therefore a venue will be communicated once officials make the decision.

“The president is expected to arrive in Kisumu tomorrow (Sunday) ahead of a three-day state visit that will include the June 1 celebrations,” she said.

She said the president is expected to officially commission the Kisumu Port as well as the Uhuru business market complex. The launch of other development projects in the region is to be communicated later.

She also confirmed that the Head of State and ODM leader Raila Odinga will not take a train ride to Kisumu as earlier planned.

Last year, Madaraka Day celebrations were held at the State House gardens in Nairobi following the ban of mass gatherings as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Unlike other years, Kenyans were only invited to participate in the celebrations virtually.

Interior Ministry PS Karanja Kibicho said the celebrations would be streamed through all media houses and social media platforms and would culminate in a live address by President Kenyatta.

Regional commissioners were required to ensure no gatherings were held during Madaraka Day.

“This is therefore to ask you to advise the members of public to remain at home and follow the celebrations on radio and television,” the notice further states.

Guests who were invited to State House included DP William Ruto; Chief of the Defence Forces General Kibochi; Cabinet Secretaries; the then Chief Justice and president of the Supreme Court David Maraga; Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi; Speaker of the Senate Ken Lusaka and the then Chairperson of the Coucil of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya.

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