Kenya prepares for the big celebration

Harambee Avenue, NairobiTomorrow, on Friday, August 27th, President Mwai Kibaki signs the new constitution into the supreme law of Kenya.

“Promulgation” (enactment by proclamation) is the word on everyone’s lips, and those of us who thought that the news would feature other issues than the new constitution after the referendum was concluded, were proven terribly wrong.

Kenya is now gearing up for the biggest celebration since independence. A mind-blowing show, with the country’s biggest military parade ever, is being prepared in Uhuru Park. Nairobi is undergoing a rapid but thorough shine-up, with traffic lights being repaired, and public buildings being decorated in preparation for the event. Harambee Avenue, featuring prominent government buildings such as the Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister, KICC and Parliament is richly decorated with the colours of the Kenyan flag.

8 African heads of state are expected. Along with the President, the entire cabinet, all members of Parliament, and the Chief Justice, these prominences will be gathered in the same place in public, and needelss to say, this has led to unprecendented security measures. Uhuru Park, where the cermony will take place, has been a no-go zone since Wednesday, sealed off by armed GSU (paramilitary) forces. Some of the surrounding roads have also been blocked, leading to abnormally massive jams in a city where the latter is already a frequent feature.

Those minor obstacles do nothing to quell the enthusiasm about tomorrow’s event, though. There is a euphoria about the new constitution comparable to the one after the 2002 election. The birth of the Second Republic signifies the rebirth of the nation to most Kenyans. Expectations are sky high as the new constitution is about to be promulgated, with hopes that a more accountable, more transparent and more democratic model of governance will put Kenya firmly and irreversibly on the track to a free and prosperous future!

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