First Lady’s Half Marathon cancelled as backlash grows

First Lady's Half Marathon cancelled as backlash grows

The 2017 First Lady’s Half Marathon that was scheduled for March 12 at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens has been canceled amid growing public uproar on social media over its cause.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta made the announcement on Saturday, citing politicization of the campaign – only in its fourth edition – meant to champion the betterment of maternal healthcare in the country.

“Four years I ago, I asked Kenyans to join me on a journey: a marathon to end maternal and child mortality across the country.

“Over the last four years, we have worked together—we have run together bonded by our shared conviction that no mother should die while giving life and that every child should live to see their 5th birthday.

“We have done more together than I imagined possible. We have run marathons and raised enough money to purchase 47 fully equipped mobile clinics delivered to every single County in Kenya,” an excerpt from a press statement sent to newsrooms read.

The First Lady reiterated her commitment in pushing through the campaign’s ultimate goal to build the Beyond Zero Referral Hospital.

“My ultimate purpose was to ensure that no mother or child lost their lives unnecessarily and I believe that this is something which should be owned by all of us.

“Throughout the last four years, our partners – from ordinary Kenyans, to workers in the health sector, to civil society, to policy makers, to the business community and international donors – have given Beyond Zero the inspiration and impetus it has needed to keep going.

“This year, I was looking forward to running yet another marathon – a Gratitude Marathon.

“I was preparing to celebrate with Kenyans to say thank you for running with me and for supporting Beyond Zero. You have all made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of women, men and children, in our great nation.

“I want to reassure all Kenyans that this is a commitment that will remain with me throughout my life,” she said.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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