Madaraka Day 2017
Madaraka Day, 1 June, commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence on 12 December 1963. The President addresses the nation, and the uniformed military, singers, and traditional dancers from around the country provide entertainment for the crowds.
The day is full of festive activities, including family picnics and games in the public parks.
History of Madaraka Day Celebrations
During the Colonial Rule Period disputes over land were common, leading to the Mau Mau rebellion by the Kikuyu people in 1952, which effectively put Kenya into a state of emergency for the next seven years.
The first direct elections took place in 1957, with the Kenya African National Union(KANU) led by Jomo Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu, forming the first government.
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On 1 June 1963, Kenya became a self-governing country when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became the first prime minister.
Full independence from British rule followed on 12 December 1963 when Kenya became an independent nation.
The Significance of Madaraka Day in Kenya
Madaraka Day is celebrated in Kenya on June 1 every year and is historically the first post-Independence National Day in the calendar.
It is one of the National Holidays envisaged by Article 8 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Before 2010, Kenyans celebrated Madaraka Day, Moi Day (which October 10), Kenyatta Day (October 20) and Jamhuri Day (December 12).
The new constitution did away with Moi Day Day and changed Kenyatta Day to Mashujaa Day (Heroes’ Day).
Madaraka Day commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence from Great Britain on December 12, 1963
Under Article 8 of the constitution, the national symbols of the Republic are the National Flag; the National Anthem; the Coat of Arms; and the Public Seal.
The constitution also decrees that national days shall be public holidays.
The original aim of public holidays is to maintain a sense of unity and cultural belonging among the people. The national days used to have a lot of significance at the formative stages of our nation, where nationalism prevailed over all other considerations.
It would be inconceivable for citizens to violate the importance that is attached to the Day. As the President is the symbol of national unity, it would be expected that he or she lead the citizens of any nation in marking the national pride that comes with the Day.
From the legal point of view, nothing stops any Kenyan or group of Kenyans deciding to mark any of the national holidays at any place and in a manner that is within the law. What will not be allowed, for example, is a group of Kenyans interfering with the smooth running of the celebrations organized by officialdom.
The History of Madaraka Day in Kenya
Madaraka Day, celebrated every June 1st, is the day set aside annually to commemorate Kenya becoming a self-ruling nation.
Mid 1800s: British settlers arrive in East Africa.
1895: They eventually establish the East African Protectorate, which promotes European settlement in some of the most fertile parts of Kenya, forcing Kenyans out from their land.
1920: Kenya is officially a British colony, and European settlers are allowed to participate in government. However, Africans are prohibited from direct political participation.
1944: A few appointed (but not elected) African representatives are allowed to sit in the legislature.
1952 – 1959: Kenyans begin to rebel against British colonial rule and its land policies. This rebellion takes place almost exclusively in the highlands of central Kenya, home to the Kikuyu. Detention camps and restricted villages are established to contain the Kikuyu insurgents. Tens of thousands of Kikuyus die in these areas and in the fighting. There are estimated to be approximately 650 British deaths.
1957: Following the rebellions, Africans are given many more opportunities to participate in politics. The first elections to elect Africans to the Legislative Council take place in this year.
June 1, 1963 – Madaraka Day: Kenya becomes a self-governing country. Jomo Kenyatta, at this time the head of Kenya African National Union (KANU), becomes the first prime minister.
December 12, 1963: Kenya becomes an independent nation.
December 12, 1964: Kenya becomes a republic, with Jomo Kenyatta serving as the first Kenyan president.
Madaraka Day Celebrations – President Uhuru Kenyatta Speech.
Madaraka Day Quotes
- “Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
- Our founders got it right when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our rights come from nature and nature’s God, not from government.
- “Liberties aren’t given, they are taken.”
- “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.”
- “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”
- “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”
- “I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.”
- “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”
- “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
- “I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.
- “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush-fires of freedom in the minds of men.”