President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday led the nation in commemorating the 57th Jamhuri Day, a celebration of the day Kenya became a republic.
Turn darkness to positive energy - Uhuru's message on his last Jamhuri Day in power
Kenyatta educates Kenyans on historical significance of Uhuru Gardens
President Kenyatta took the better part of his speech to pay tribute to and educate Kenyans on the historical significance of the public park.
"The joy of December 12th is that we celebrate two critical milestones of our independence journey. And I say so because the transfer of power from the British colonizers to our Founding Fathers took place in three steps over a period of 18 months," the President began.
The two milestones elaborated by the President were celebrating the Kenya's self-determination or self-rule and celebrating the Republic Kenya, independence from Queen Elizabeth as Head of State.
The three steps Uhuru recounted were: attainment of self rule on June 1, 1963 following elections on May 27th of the same year; gained independence on December 12th, 1963 and the flag was for the first time hoisted at the Uhuru Gardens; and December 12th, 1964 when the Queen of England vacated her position as Head of State.
"To commemorate this change of guard, the First President planted a Mugumo tree at the exact spot where our flag had been hoisted at midnight of December 12th, 1963. That 57-year-old tree stands tall and proud to my right as a symbol of our struggle dating back 100 years ago in the 1920s," President Kenyatta narrated.
Dark History of Kenya's Uhuru Gardens
Asking Kenyans to embrace the spirit of our founding fathers, Uhuru also recounted the dark history behind the historical park, noting that it had been earlier known as Lang'ata Concentration Camp.
"Langata Camp has been described in the books of history as resembling the Nazi Camps in Germany, both in its psychological warfare and its methods of brutality. In fact, using ‘quack scientists’, the colonizers argued that devotion to the cause of Mau Mau was a mental illness. And the only way to deal with it was by creating mass detention camps where ‘shock therapy’ and torture would be administered as a cure. And that was part of the logic they used to create the Langata Concentration Camp where we are seated today," he stated.
The President went on to outline that his government, on advice from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, had embarked on renovating the grounds to reflect both the bitter and bold aspects of its history.
"By creating this garden as a place of remembrance, our Founding Fathers wanted generations to recall the darkness of our colonial past, but not to be stuck in the pessimism that dark memories can breed. They wanted us to turn darkness into positive energy the way they did it in the concentration camps. Instead of breaking down in the camps, colonial brutality only made them stronger.
"But there are other reasons why our Founding Fathers brought us to this place of national remembrance. Each time we gather here, they wanted us to face our national fears and demons with courage. More so because, no condition is permanent. They wanted us to '…never question in the dark, decisions we made in the light'. Mainly because the long walk to freedom was a walk of faith," the President urged.
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