A security guard patrols at Westgate shopping mall with his sniffer dog, in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 18, 2015. Kenya's upscale shopping mall, Westgate, which had been closed nearly two years ago after a terrorist attack that claimed 67 lives, was reopened on Saturday amid tight security.(Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
A security guard patrols at Westgate shopping mall with his sniffer dog, in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 18, 2015. Kenya's upscale shopping mall, Westgate, which had been closed nearly two years ago after a terrorist attack that claimed 67 lives, was reopened on Saturday amid tight security.(Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

by Bedah Mengo

The year of 2015 came with mixed blessing for East Africa’s biggest economy. Kenya had the worst terror attack on its soil in April at the Garissa University College where the Al-Shabaab militants killed 147 people, mostly students.

A security guard patrols at Westgate shopping mall with his sniffer dog, in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 18, 2015. Kenya's upscale shopping mall, Westgate, which had been closed nearly two years ago after a terrorist attack that claimed 67 lives, was reopened on Saturday amid tight security.(Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
A security guard patrols at Westgate shopping mall with his sniffer dog, in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 18, 2015. Kenya’s upscale shopping mall, Westgate, which had been closed nearly two years ago after a terrorist attack that claimed 67 lives, was reopened on Saturday amid tight security.(Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
It is the bad events that Kenyans went to bid bye as they hoped for a better 2016 where insecurity, corruption, higher inflation and road accidents, among other challenges, would not stifle lives.

In Nairobi, two gospel music events attracted huge crowds of Christian revellers. The Groove Party held at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani and Totally Sold Out show at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in the central business district saw people pray, sing and celebrate to welcome the New Year.

In the lakeside town of Kisumu, western Kenya, thousands of people from in and outside Kenya too attended a prayer vigil to usher in the New Year.

“Last year I welcomed the New Year from home, but I wanted to do things different this year. I wanted to pray and celebrate all the achievement I have made in 2015 and seek for a better 2016,” Vincent Musau, a 29-year-old finance officer at an insurance company who attended a church service, said Thursday evening.

Most of those who attended the music events that were beamed live on TV to homes were young people, with some of the old choosing to visit bars and other secular places, stay at home or go for church services.

And as the clock ticked towards mid-night, the counting began with some Kenyans shedding tears of joy and others ululating as they happily welcomed 2016.

“One, two, three… Happy New Year, Happy New Year,” shouted revellers at the Groove Party as it turned mid-night.

During the New Year Celebrations, Kenyans too did not forget to pray for their troubled neighbours, particularly Burundi.

The country is facing a political crisis that has led to the death of over 100 people, and is on the brink of genocide.

With threats of terror attack hovering over the East African nation, security was tight in Nairobi as the New Year events went on. Police had outlawed the use of unlicensed fireworks in the celebrations.

Both uniformed and non-uniformed officers manned the different streets in Nairobi to ensure all went well.
“We thank Kenyans and tourists visiting the country and we look forward to peace and tranquillity during New Year festivities,” said Inspector General Joseph Boinett.

Boinett reminded the public that all those who wanted to use fireworks must seek authorisation from the police and asked everyone to be cautious during celebrations.

“Kenyans must be fully conscious of their surrounding as security is a shared responsibility. This is particularly important in view of the elevated threats of terrorism,” said the inspector general. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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