I am pleased to lead the celebration of the 8th Mashujaa Day; a day we have set aside to remember our heroes of the past. These are men and women of courage and patriotism, who chose service over self; men and women who have sacrificed themselves in one way or the other for the sake of peace and stability of this great nation. As their sons and daughters, we have a duty to remember them honourably.
We also gather to give thanks for the progress we have made, on the political and economic front. We are free to express our opinions without fear of retribution; we can move freely, live and work anywhere in the country without requiring a pass; and we can vote to elect leaders of our choice.
Mashujaa Day is also an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of true heroism; and how each one of us can contribute to the prosperity of this country. We can draw lessons from the men and women who won our freedom, not because they had superior weapons, but because they seized their common destiny. They understood their common enemy; they believed in one another; they shunned differences of tribe and tongue; and they won.
These men and women endured great pain and suffering; many paid the ultimate price. No words can express our gratitude to this generation. We can only honour them by defending the values and the cause for which they stood.
We remember today’s heroes who have made enormous contributions to enlarge the democratic space in Kenya. Their sacrifices for multiparty politics laid the foundation upon which we have developed our democracy.
It now behooves us to zealously guard the democracy we have inherited from these heroes. The late Prof Wangari Maathai, the late Prof Ali Mazrui and other notable scholars and researchers, brought honour to our motherland.
We celebrate our sportsmen and women who continue to bring glory to our motherland in different championships in the world. We remember Mary Mokaya, who saved fellow students from the Moi Girls’ fire, at the cost of her own life.
May God rest her soul and that of her colleagues, in eternal peace. And may her name and her example of selflessness, be a shining example to us all. Mary’s actions during that tragedy provide poignant lessons for us to reflect upon at this moment in our nation’s history.
At the tender age of 14, she sacrificed for the sake of others. Mary’s great act and courage will forever be engraved in our hearts. Let me also recognise Joseph Charo, of Rabai sub-county, who is another great Kenyan.
He donated two acres of family land for construction of Jimba Water Pan. For his good gesture, 5,000 people and 40,000 livestock will now realise a long-held dream of receiving a reliable water supply.
Mr Charo is a hero and a role model in his community and, indeed, the entire country. There are numerous cases of Kenyans who have gone out of their way to create impact in the lives of their fellow Kenyans. Their acts have touched the hearts of other Kenyans.
My challenge to the rest of us is to endeavor to touch at least the heart of another Kenyan before 2017 ends. This is what true brotherhood means, as the Swahili adage reminds us: “Undugu nikufaana sio kufanana”.
Today, reach out and touch another Kenyan’s life. It will be the best way to celebrate Mashujaa Day. Today, Kenya requires more people like Mary Mokaya and Joseph Charo. You can be one of them. If we act for the common good of our fellow Kenyans, this country would be a better place for us all.
I look forward to that time when Kenyans shall extend a hand of help to fellow brothers and sisters without regard to ethnicity, race, religion, age or creed. Then, and only then, will we realise the national unity our departed forefathers envisioned.
We recently emerged from a hard-fought election where we conducted ourselves most maturely and elected leaders of our choice. We chose to remain peaceful and allowed our democracy to prevail. We resisted all forms of incitement.
Our conduct showed that we are, indeed, a mature democracy. We proved to the entire world our ability to manage our affairs. This is one occasion where we showed we are all heroes. Thank you Kenyans for this show of maturity.
As we prepare for the Presidential Election on October 26, 2017, it is important that we maintain peace, just as we did and have done before. Voting to elect leaders of our choice is a right that was hard won by our forefathers, we should guard it jealously.
To those threatening and intimidating the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), its staff and other entities, this must cease forthwith. We must trust, nurture and safeguard our institutions to enable them to grow and perform their functions.
Our neighbour Somalia recently suffered a terrorist attack where many innocent lives were lost. On behalf of all Kenyans, I send my heartfelt condolences to the people of Somalia. Recognising that Kenya is a God fearing nation, I have called for national prayers.
Consequently, I have declared Sunday 22nd October 2017 a National Prayer Day. I call on all Kenyans to converge in their Mosques, Churches, Temples and other places of worship and pray for our Nation.
I conclude by requesting you to turn out in large numbers to exercise your constitutional and democratic right on Thursday. Your vote will be your contribution to the dream of our forefathers for a peaceful and prosperous Kenya.
True Kenyan heroes will cast their votes on 26th. This is the only way we can make Kenya great and guarantee a great future for our children. I also wish to take this opportunity to join the Hindu community in celebrating Diwali and wish them a Happy New Year. Finally, let me wish you all a happy Mashujaa Day. This is an abridged version of President Uhuru’s Mashujaa Day speech