Kenya marks her 49th year of independence on Saturday amid heightened security occasioned by its first major post-colonial war against Islamic militants in neighbouring Somalia.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
The venue of the celebrations, Nyayo stadium, was on Saturday cordoned with heavily armed army personnel in a scale never witnessed in the country's history.
The high security levels is in response to recent grenade attacks that have rocked Nairobi and which have been attributed to Al-Shabaab militants. The most recent attack led to the death of a nine year old boy who was attending a Sunday school session in an Anglican church.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) last month captured the strategic coastal town of Kismayu in Somalia, a major boost in its effort to vanquish the Al-Shabaab militants. (READ: How superior KDF strategy caught al-Shabaab offguard)
Internally, Kenya is grappling with the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a secessionist group pushing for the breakaway of the coastal region.
The group cites neglect by Kenya's successive governments and land alienation as their reasons for seeking secession. (READ: The radical world of the MRC)
President Kibaki will lead this year's Mashujaa day celebrations, the last in his ten year tenure.