Jamhuri is the Swahili word for ‘republic’, and Jamhuri Day is the name given to Republic Day in Kenya. It celebrates the transition to republican rule, which took place on 12 December 1964, after one and a half years of self-government since the end of British colonial rule on 1 June 1963.
On Sunday Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the 57th and his last Jamhuri Day, as he will not be able to run again in the presidential election scheduled for August 2022.
The celebrations took place in front of 11,000 people, in Uhuru Gardens, a historic monument celebrating the liberation from British rule: ‘uhuru’ in Swahili means ‘freedom’ (and therefore has nothing to do with the current president of Kenya).
The three main protagonists of Kenyan politics, Kenyatta, Odinga and Ruto, had the opportunity to address the nation. In a speech that summarized the country’s political history, Kenyatta, emphasized the famous handshake between himself and Raila Odinga, arguing that this was a truly progressive move for the country. He also claimed that the BBI will be brought to fruition sooner or later and will have a major impact on the country. Odinga, who just two days earlier had made it official that he would run in next year’s elections, lavished significant praise on the president. Vice-President Ruto, on the other hand, reintroduced his warhorse, the opposition between hustlers, the people struggling to make ends meet, and dynasties, the members of the Kenyan ‘caste’, the usual representatives of the country’s politics since independence.
On this Jamhuri Day, therefore, what will probably be the line-ups of Kenyan politics in the near future emerged.