As we celebrate 50 years of independence in Kenya, here the speech from President Uhuru Kenyatta made on Mashujaa Day, 20th October 2013.
“This year, we mark the Golden Jubilee of our Republic. We intend to commemorate 50 years of independence, by celebrating our triumphs and reflecting upon our future progress. We want to remember where we have come from, and envision our journey forward. Starting today, we will have diverse activities by people in all sectors of our public life and all parts of the country to mark “Kenya at 50”. I encourage all Kenyans to join in this festival and celebrate our country.
We are here to commemorate the sacrifice and heroism of many Kenyans whose vision and conviction won us freedom and sovereignty. Colonialism had stripped all Kenyans of their fundamental rights. They had no land, and were considered inferior in their own home. There was neither dignity nor freedom for Kenyans then. Our forefathers waged a struggle of conviction and principle, supported with no resources except the burning fire of humiliation and the indefeasible yearning for independence and respect. They were brave and noble. The cost of the struggle was painful, because the settlers did not consider Africans equal human beings worthy of rights…. That is why our constitution states that We the People honour those who heroically struggled to bring freedom and justice to our land. In history, Mashujaa Day is a day written in blood by the hand of our heroes.
Besides freedom fighters and political leaders, there are other Kenyans who have made significant contribution in business, research, scholarship, and public service. We commend them for their distinguished service. Most importantly, I would like to commend the millions of Kenyan workers, entrepreneurs, and farmers for their steady nation building efforts. Our country grows and thrives because of your consistency and hard work. You are the practitioners of a unique form of patriotism.
Let us also honour those Kenyans who, every day, perform acts of selflessness and bravery. They include the volunteers who respond in disasters and emergencies, the philanthropists who donate to the needy and members of our security services who protect us at great risk to their own lives. On my own behalf, and on behalf of the people of Kenya, I say a big “Thank You” to all of you.
Our heroes remind us everyday that we are a nation of winners.
Because our gallant freedom fighters won, we celebrate the freedom, dignity and progress that we have won because of them. They bestowed us with a legacy that we must honour with all our lives. We cherish our nationhood, heritage and the splendor of Kenya in commemoration of the struggles and sacrifices made by our freedom fighters. We must always do them proud.
On this day, therefore, I beseech the people of Kenya to be more united than ever before, and to recognise shared opportunities as well as common threats.
Our past has many instances where Kenyans, who are brothers and sisters, have been incited and manipulated to turn against each other on irrational ethnic and religious grounds. As a result, lives have been lost, property destroyed and people displaced from their homes. These incidents shame all of us as a nation, and defile the memory of our heroes. We must never allow anyone, or anything to divide us. Just as we reject domination, we must also reject division and discord.
I ask that when history looks at us in future, we shall not be found wanting. As I said earlier, we have come a long way, and we are going places. Pamoja twasonga mbele. Therefore, I implore you in the name of our heroes: Let all and one arise and, with hearts both strong and true, endeavour to honestly serve our Homeland. Let us stand firm to defend our heritage and splendor.
With one accord, and united in a common bond, let us build this nation. Let a glorious Kenya be the fruit of our collective labour, which will fill all Kenyan hearts with thanksgiving.
God bless you, and God bless Kenya.
We, as a country have come so far and so much further will we go! Let us continue to unite and grow and pick ourselves up when we fall. ” ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” (JK Rowling) Happy 50th Birthday Kenya-