The recent tragedy at the Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kericho County, where five people lost their lives in a stampede, highlights the urgent need for better and more meticulous planning for our national holidays.
Such days hold great significance, as they are attended by the country’s president and often feature the participation of foreign dignitaries.
It’s an occasion for the entire nation to come together and celebrate its heritage and achievements.
The government’s decision to rotate the hosting of national holidays to include different counties is commendable, as it provides an opportunity for citizens from across the country to witness these events, including military fun fare, up close.
However, while this decision is laudable, it should be accompanied by meticulous planning.
The excitement generated by such events in communities that rarely get to witness them is understandable.
In the case of Kericho County, the fact that hundreds had gathered as early as 2 am, seven hours before the event’s scheduled start, should have been anticipated by the organizers.
This level of enthusiasm from the public should have been met with adequate measures to ensure their safety and comfort.
The tragic stampede and the subsequent loss of lives and injuries is an unfortunate testament to poor planning.
The readiness of the venue and the availability of essential infrastructure and security personnel should be thoroughly assessed.
It is inexcusable for construction to be incomplete, given that the event was planned months in advance.
The safety and well-being of attendees should always be the top priority.
Moreover, there should have been a better strategy for crowd management and ensuring order, with enough police officers to maintain control.
As we join the bereaved families and communities in mourning their loved ones we must say this; The deaths were needless, the injuries unnecessary and a day of pride was turned into one of pain and national shame.
This should never happen again.
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY BY FRED INDIMULI