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All Elected Leaders Once Again Boycott Madaraka Day Celebrations In Thika Stadium.

It has now become a culture for elected leaders in Thika Sub-County to boycott public functions, especially National holidays.

Save for the area MP Alice Ng’ang’a and the area governor William Kabogo who sent representatives, all the five elected and three nominated MCAs from Thika Town Constituency duly absented themselves when they ought to be availing themselves to the public to show direction and being answerable to the masses. This has been in existence for quite a while now and today’s Madaraka Day compelled us to seek the views of the citizens who attended the fete at the Thika Sub-County Stadium.

Gone are the days when everyone woke up very early to book the best spot to enjoy the celebrations. Gone are the days when people from all walks of life thronged the stadium to either take part in the celebrations or enjoy the great heritage of our Kenyan cultures in songs and dances. Gone are the days when the common citizenry depended on the fetes to update themselves on the goings around of their local areas and also updating themselves on government policies and programmes.

Thika Deputy County Commissioner Tom Anjere was the first to air his concern about the poor attendance of the people and related the issue to the lack of leadership involvement in preparing the resident by being the best examples themselves. He said that it was important for elected leaders to senstise the people on the importance of these days.

“I believe that the significance of a national day like this one is not meant only for the DC or the governor, it is a function of importance to everyone. If we co-operate with all stakeholders and change our strategy and approach on the issue, we will be able to pull the crowd back to these fetes,” said Anjere.

Solomon Mbungu, a longtime resident of Thika Town lamented the lack of spark in the national celebrations. He blamed it partly on political leaders who made these days lose meaning by using them as political platforms to settle scores with their foes.

“I really miss the days of former Presidents Kenyatta and Moi when we really valued the importance of these days. Every leader attended and used the forum to articulate their vision and plans to the people. Nowadays, politicians use the dais to abuse each other, driving away the people in the process,” said Mbungu.

The chairperson of Thika Community Policing Committee Bishop Ezekiel Karanja said that it was a high time our political leaders led by example.

“Our leaders no longer value these days. They never attend these celebrations probably to avoid being put to task by their electorate. We need them to revive the spirit. We need them to help the people stream back to the stadium,” said Karanja.

As opinion shapers, our political leaders are supposed to guide wananchi by emphasising the importance of these functions and being the right examples to be emulated.

Being a part of all these festivities is such an important gesture as it helps us maintain our own traditions and is a way to pass on the spirit of patriotism to the younger generations. Celebrations of national observance are some of the core aspects of any culture and are woven tightly into our overall cultural and national identity. They help keep us grounded in our own culture and national identity as Kenyans. They are also an excellent opportunity for intellectual exchange and understanding of our past that is very crucial for national unity and cohesion. Both the kids and adults learn a lot about our past struggles as a nation which in essence is important on how we relate with others and how we value the freedom that we enjoy as citizens.

The original aim of public holidays was to maintain a sense of unity and cultural belonging among the people. Fifty two years back, Madaraka Day was a very big deal. Every Kenyan went to the streets waving proudly the national flag, but nowadays, national holidays are just another reason for us to relax at home, complain and joke about all those that are going on without being politically active.

It is very unfortunate that we, those who are the heirs to the democratic processes and institutions our freedom heroes helped to create and secure, fail to do justice to them or to their accomplishments by failing to acknowledge their struggle and sacrifice that has led to the present day nation we call Kenya.

It was not always this way. Those of the earlier generation yearned for and observed these days with nostalgia. Their observance provided an opportunity to reflect on what these freedom heroes had done in service of their country and its people.

All this can be blamed on the leadership of our constituency (and now Kiambu County, as in the new political dispensation). It is these leaders who have turned out to be a very slippery slope, reducing the importance to our natural days into political math-up and forums to front propaganda and smear campaigns, systematically degrading the importance of these days.

Either by design or by accident, the forces that define what it means to be a Kenyan are no longer concerned with nationalism or patriotism. The loss of our history is the reason Kenyans have lost their national pride and this must not be allowed to happen.

The civic life of the nation and the civic education of future generations require that national holidays and institutions being branded as being most worthy of study; that they are unique and set apart from all other issues and personalities no matter how great they or their accomplishments have been. This does not take away anything from us as Kenyans; it merely rights a historical wrong.

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