|Nasa leader Raila Odinga during a past public function in Ujunga, Siaya County. Mr Odinga will on Friday lead a parallel Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisumu.
Today Kenya marks the national Mashuujaa day for the eighth time since its inception.
The significance of this day (20th October) is that it gives us the opportunity to honor and celebrate the great men and women who shed their blood, sweat, and tears to deliver us a nation we now proudly call home. Its a day to reflect on their sweat and sacrifices in pushing the agenda of self-rule.
They created a future for the people of Kenya. They rose our hopes and aspirations to such a high standard that this hope literally fueled Kenya to be one of Africa’s biggest economies. Our forefathers were hope mongers. They saw brighter tomorrow for Kenya. And when Kenya finally gained independence on 1stJune 1963, it was marked with joy, buoyancy and hope.
Fifty four years later, the pride is gone. With deplorable living conditions, joblessness, illiteracy, terrorism and the twin crimes of tribalism and nepotism becoming the norm of the day. Kenya is now a shadow of its former self.
The East African nation is endowed with human and natural resources. She is celebrated for athletes, actors, politicians, tourism, tea and flowers among others. With close to fifty ethnic groups comes the beauty of rich cultural diversity and natural resources. But sad to note is that the ugly side of the diversity shines brighter when it comes to leadership, government appointments, access to power, resource exploration, inclusivity and allocation of government funds. Do these ethnic groups have a sense of belonging? The Mijikenda people of the Coastal region of Kenya, for instance, feel marginalized, hence the Pwani Si Kenya agitation. The Luo people of Nyanza region feel sidelined when it comes to national development, government appointments and access to power. The Turkana and Samburu people of northern Kenya feel neglected when it comes to matters security, health, food and nutrition. They feel they are not part of Kenya. With constant disease outbreaks, terrorism, drought and hunger, Kenyan in general are hopeless!
What caused these plunge from hope for a country that was highly esteemed and destined for greatness in the 60s and 70s? Blame it on dirty politics and appalling levels of of corruption.
The great infrastructural advancements like the Standard Gauge Railway, Super highways, Expansion of Mombasa port, Kisumu Oil Jetty, and plans by the government to kick start the LAPSSET project are indicative of the strides we have made as a nation, but this hopelessness takes us several steps backward.
Hopelessness makes the human being irrational; it stagnates our economy and depresses our plans. It is this same hopelessness and the inability to see a bright future after the August 26th election that leads Kenyans to pessimistic thoughts of post-election violence. This situation is deteriorating, the country is politically divided. The current state of our county is a mockery of the National Pledge.
I am one of the few hopeful Kenyan who still believe that there is room for redemption. Our forefathers dared to dream, and it is the duty of every Kenya to act in the spirit of our National Anthem to realize the dreams of our founding fathers. Let’s pull ourselves together, clean up our act and bring together a united and prosperous nation. Happy Mashujaa Day!