Kenya National Day

The Jamhuri Day celebrations in Kenya reflect the joy Kenyans have in their country’s freedom and independence from British colonial rule.

Each year, Kenya celebrates its Independence Day on December 12. This is the date in 1964 that the country officially became a republic. Kenya was formally colonized by the British in 1920.

Some of the more popular and festive Jamhuri Day traditions include parades and air shows, especially in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Perhaps the most spectacular of these events is the Trooping of the Colour, a British and Commonwealth tradition. Further, Kenya’s President gives a JamhuriDay speech each year and watches the parade along with the rest of Kenya.

At home, many Kenyans celebrate by rejoining their families for a time of feasting and catching up with each other. Families who choose to spend most of their time at home may watch the Jamhuri Day awards, speeches, and parades on TV together as well.

At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world’s 48th largest country by area. With a population of more than 47.6 million in the 2019 census, Kenya is the 29th most populous country.

In 1991, Kenya transitioned to a multiparty political system after 26 years of single-party rule. The election was scheduled to take place on December 7, 1992, but delays led to its postponement to December 29. Apart from KANU, the ruling party, other parties represented in the elections included FORD Kenya and FORD Asili. This election was marked by large-scale intimidation of opponents and harassment of election officials. It resulted in an economic crisis propagated by ethnic violence as the president was accused of rigging electoral results to retain power. This election was a turning point for Kenya as it signified the beginning of the end of Moi’s leadership and the rule of KANU. Daniel arap Moi retained the presidency and George Saitoti became vice president. Although it held on to power, KANU won 100 seats and lost 88 seats to the six opposition parties.

Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State said in a statement, On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and the American people, I send best wishes to the people of Kenya on the occasion of your national day.  As you mark the establishment of Kenya as a republic and 58 years of independence, let us also celebrate the strong partnership between our two nations.

The partnership between the United States and Kenya extends beyond our governments to include our civil societies, our private sectors, and our deep people-to-people ties.  Our close collaboration on shared priorities was on display during my recent visit to Nairobi, and I am confident that our work together will advance a better future for the people of the United States and Kenya.

Please accept our congratulations on this anniversary of Kenya’s independence.


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