My Wish Fulfilled
Kenya achieved independence in 1963 and President Moi, well known as Nyayo, came to power in 1978. So in 1988, Kenya had a double celebration – 25 years of independence and 10 years of Nyayo Rule.
I was nominated for the main steering committee and, later on, as the Provincial Chairman of Town Decorations and Monument Sub-Committee in the Rift Valley Province – the largest province of Kenya.
I was supposed to oversee the town decorations, each and every shop, erecting of arches at various places, road decorations and building of monuments as and where required. I had my jumbo committee to support me, and had taken representatives from the main centres.
Prominent young members of the Asian Community formed the backbone of the arches and monuments projects. My entire committee of the Hindu Council of Kenya Nakuru and Eldoret Branch were there to help me. The Sikh Community took over the work of building arches as most of the fabrication-workshops were theirs. The shop decorations and window display competitions project was given to the Visa Oshwal Community as most of the retail and wholesale shops were owned by them. Building of monuments was given to the Town Engineering section of each centre. There were three main centers under my care: Nakuru, Eldoret and Kabarnet.
Njoro and Elburgen Centres were handed over to the Egerton College students. A modestly sized, but very attractive and illustrative monument for Nakuru was built in the circle of KFA, where five roads converge, including the highway. The lovely monument was built from marble and adorned with golden plates. The general public was not allowed to view its structure until the opening time. It was arranged accordingly.
The monument, showing the progress of 25 years of Independence and highlighting the outstanding progress of 10 years of Nyayo, was wrapped in plastic. The circle was beautifully decorated with extraordinary lighting and an arrangement of various plants. The highlights of 25 years of Independence and 10 Nyayo years were the main attractions of the monument area.
A day and time was chosen for the grand official opening of the Nyayo Monument. The Chief Guest was none other than Nyayo himself, His Excellency President Moi. Not only his Cabinet, but also the entire Parliament was invited to attend the Ceremony. Apart from the people of Nakuru, people from the surrounding areas were also invited. Secondary school children and college students lined the main road.
The President stopped off briefly at Gilgil, some 25 kilometres from Nakuru and the people gathered there to welcome Nyayo. He also stopped at Lanet and Nakuru Blanket where a lovely arch had been prepared by the Shah Bros of Nakuru Industries.
Extra police were called in from other forces as this was a unique occasion. The monument which the President was going to open was in the centre where five roads met. A crowd of 100,000 people was expected to attend the function and all the roads leading to the Nyayo Monument were closed to traffic during the ceremony which was of about an hour’s duration.
I was proud to be the Master of Ceremony for this memorable occasion. Very few prominent leaders were allowed in the circle. Even the M.P.S and District Commissioner were out on the road.
Dr. Kerai addressing the public was heard clearly by the entire town and even in the Lanet Area, some 4 kilometres away. The program was arranged to be highlighted alive on Kenyan T.V.
There was a major traffic jam as all vehicles coming from Nairobi and going to Eldoret, Kisumu and Baringo were halted. There were 80,000 vehicles stationery on these approach roads. Some 150,000 people attended the function. Police and security officers were on full alert, as well as the traffic police. About 40 emergency police cars patrolled the area, constantly making announcements concerning the event and safety.
The eagerly awaited moment came when Nyayo himself opened the delightful Monument with the words “Nyayo Ju!” The slogan of the late President Jomo Kenyatta,” Harrambbee “ruled the crowded atmosphere. There was no rush, no crush, no disturbance, no EVIL incidents or accidents, no fighting or quarrelling… nothing negative, but everything positive. . And my wish to be the Master of Ceremony of such a huge and important function of the Nation was fulfilled. My other wish – to close all five roads at the same time – also became a reality… and then I dared to view the miles of traffic jams on all these roads from a special helicopter when the President had left and the crowds very slowly began to disperse.
It was a happy day for Kenya, for Nyayo, and also for Dr Kerai. Nakuru, a small but beautiful town of Kenya was on the top of the nation on the particular day and Dr.Kerai, the forefront social force of Rift Valley Province as a whole was on the top of the world.