Today, Kenya is marking the 60th Madaraka Day, one of the three national holidays created by article 8 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
The day is meant to celebrate the definitive episode in 1963 that Kenya attained internal self-rule with Mzee Jommo Kenyatta taking the helm guided by a firm agenda of eliminating ignorance, poverty and disease.
The ceremonial swearing in of Prime Minister Jommo Kenyatta was met with optimism for opportunities represented by a new dawn without the burden of colonizers, with Kenya gaining full independence later in the year on 12th December.
As thousands gather at the Moi stadium Embu to celebrate the historic day, millions of Kenyans are following proceedings amid high expectations that solutions to their concerns will be articulated during the celebrations.
But amid the pride of an independent people and expectations of a better future, concerns over a myriad of issues key among them the cost of living abound.
The celebrations come in the wake of the Azimio coalition’s decision to suspend bipartisan talks with the government aimed at addressing contentious issues. Representatives of the coalition in the talks are accusing the government of not being sincere in addressing substantive issues including lowering the cost of living, audit of electoral commission servers, interference with its affiliate parties and the reconstitution of IEBC. The talks had seen the opposition halt weekly protests it had called to protest against the Kenya Kwanza government.
This as sections of the Finance Bill 2023 continues to draw public outrage. Dubbed as among the most radical in the country’s history, the bill, which was tabled before the national assembly on May 4th for the first reading, has ignited varied reactions with civil servants’ unions threatening to stage a strike if the government fails to shelve a proposal to deduct a three percent levy on their salaries as a mandatory contribution to a housing fund as contained in the Finance Bill 2023. The Bill has a timeline of approval of 30th June to coincide with the enactment of the Appropriation Law, 2023.
The most important part of today’s celebrations is the Madaraka day speech by the President which is expected to address the country’s struggle for freedom. Among areas of focus will be the struggles and the sacrifice of freedom fighters to have the country free as well as other issues affecting the country.