SPEECH BY H.E JOSEPH OLE LENKU, GOVERNOR, COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF KAJIADO, DURING THE 55TH MASHUJAA DAY AT THE KCB GROUNDS, KAJIADO TOWN.
• Honourable Members of Parliament;
• Honourable Members of the County Executive Committee and the County Public Service Board;
• Honourable Members of Our County Assembly;
• The County Commissioner and other officers of the National Government present here;
• Our friends and Development Partners;
• My great people of Kajiado;
• Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
I salute you all, in the name of God, the Almighty, for making time to attend this great occasion. It is my utmost pleasure to have everybody here, my friends!
For sure, I feel, greatly, privileged to stand before you to mark this Mashujaa Day, the second one in my tenure as your Governor. This shared sense of privilege comes from the fact that we are here, today, to share in the enormous joy which comes with remembering our protracted, long, freedom struggle; the joy of the selfless sacrifices of the great heroes and heroines, who paid their all, for our freedom; the freedom we enjoy!
And therefore, friends, it is loud and clear that ours, as a nation, is a heritage of the utmost sacrifice. More than 66 years ago, in 1952 to be particular, our nationalist leaders, under the inspiring patronage of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, put their life on the line for the dignity of this nation; they put their life on the line for the free and independent Kenya that we are today. They made our impressive nationalist history while determining our destiny as a free people!
Consequently, ladies and gentlemen, Mashujaa Day comes with an extremely pleasant memory of the great sacrifices which made us a nation. Following their nationalist activities, our heroes and heroines were hunted down by the brutal force of a foreign government; they were arrested and convicted of crimes they did not commit; they suffered and endured the indignity of being prisoners which they never deserved.
But finally, they emerged from being victims of colonialism to victors of freedom. Theirs was a beautiful testament of the timeless truth, as Dr. Martin Luther King put it, that there is no gain without pain!
Our nationalists struggled against everything that was ugly, mean and degrading to us. From the giants like Mzee Kenyatta, the legends like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, defenders of our culture like Mzee Ntimama to the many warriors, without number, who shed their innocent blood for us to be free, we have a brilliant legacy; a legacy which not only inspires but also drives the aspirations of those of your and my generation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my considered opinion, that these leading lights of our nation, some alive and others long gone, are examples worth emulating for us here in Kajiado and the nation at large. The stories of their lives remain treasures no one, I say no one, can steal from us; they are salutary lessons in endurance, hard work, dedication and commitment.
Simply put, their lives and voices, from the distant past, constitute a clarion call to us to arise and shine in the development of our county; a call to move away from division, ethnic or otherwise; a call to be committed to always move forward, whatever the difficulties we face; and a call to embrace the noble assurance that our forebears stood against odds and we can do the same now; they secured a future for us which bespeaks of not only hope but also change and change for the better!
In a sense, therefore, our heroes and heroines’ dedication to our nation earned them a place in the history of this important occasion, Mashujaa Day! Theirs was a life of service to the nation. They offered their all and many paid the ultimate price by losing their lives!
And therefore, as a perpetual tribute to Mashujaa wetu, I want to let you know, my great people of Kajiado, that we have a mission; a mission to offer service to our county. Without some such efficient and effective service to our people, the sacrifices of our Mashujaa wetu will come to naught, zero kabisa!
Mine this day, then, is a wake-up call for service; a call upon my people to serve humanity! I call upon the youth of this county to service: Our youth, true, you cannot be a Dedan Kimathi fighting in the Mau Mau War in the bush but you can be a diligent student in our schools creatively fighting ignorance. Our future lies in you, young people, and your future lies in education!
If you are trained and well educated, opportunities in our county are infinite; we are a county with endless possibilities! Please, our young people take advantage of them! Take advantage of our programmes, with our partners, of moulding job creators instead of job seekers in our vocational institutions; indeed, take advantage of our investment in vocational skills development in our county.
With that kind of onslaught on ignorance by our young people, never again will Kajiado be regarded as a county of less educated people; with our adult education programmes taking root very fast, never again will our older people have any excuses for being illiterate. Never again! Never!
Now to our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. If you cannot be a Syokimau, the prophetess and leader who won the hearts of the Akamba people by foretelling the coming of the British, you can win the hearts and minds of our many children and mothers to our Universal Health Coverage programme.
This program, under the clarion call of Mbuzi Moja Afya Bora, will get the hospital bills burden off the backs of our people. Disease has kept down so many of us, in so many ways and for so long. But now, mothers, you have the key to its end – Mbuzi Moja, Afya Bora!
My fellow menfolk, if you cannot be the maverick, the powerful, Hon. William Ronkorua Ole Ntimama, and defend our land rights as well as culture to the hilt, you can support and defend our Spatial Plan to control unsustainable sub-division of our ranches and lands. Our present County economy will be made or destroyed depending on how we utilize our inelastic resource – land! Our County is a Pastoral Paradise; IT IS our land which makes it so.
IT IS this land which will bring our plans of turning our livestock into a thriving industry; IT IS this land that will enable us to invest in mass production of hay to cushion our animals against the vagaries of weather; IT IS this land that makes our County a preferred business hub. IT IS this land that will help us to deal with the grinding poverty which confronts our people every day!
Let me now turn to my fellow leaders. Leaders of Kajiado, if you cannot be Mzee Jomo Kenyatta or Daniel Arap Moi and rule Kenya for a while, you can defend our Kenyan democracy and create a Kajiado in which all of us, as brothers and sisters, can live in harmony, work in unity and improve our lives together. Let us go for our dream of prosperity for all; let us not tire, my friends, in bringing our people together.
For sure, we must have our eyes trained on higher and better things for our County and our Country. That is the essence and spirit of uniting Kajiado!
To our county officers, let me not say much but you know, in no uncertain terms, that service is the buzzword of our daily operation; service to the people; Huduma kwa wananchi!
There are no alternatives to providing our people with water sustainably and in ways which are environmental friendly; there are no alternatives to connecting water to all households in our County; there are no alternatives to harnessing all our water sources to satisfy our needs; and more importantly, there are no alternatives to effective and efficient revenue collection! ALL THESE SERVICES AND DESIRED DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITY AND MUST BE DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE OF KAJIADO.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Like the heroes and heroines of the old, we are determined in our government to serve our people. In all ways and with all our efforts, we are set to make the present and the future better than the past. Each one of us has a personal and moral obligation to make it so.
My dear people of Kajiado, allow me to take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate just a few of our heroes and heroines who went before us.
These are people whose deeds of service to our people have contributed immensely to the good that we experience today, as the people of Kajiado.
Today, I wish we remember Supeet Ole Sitonik;The ritual expert from the Ilmeirishari age set who reigned supreme between 1806-1826. I also recognize Mutunkei Ole Nchoonka of the Ilkaputiei and who was the first colonial chief. I also recognize the work of Lenku Ole Mpaa, a great traditional leader and peacemaker among the Ilkisonko. This man was the leader of the Ilterito age set and a government chief. In his lineage, is your Governor.
From the Ildolokilani, we recognize the distinguished leadership of chief Maora Ole Loorpisia. This great chief was renown for his great sense of justice. The Ilodokilani had the great Chief Ntoyian Ole Sayianka.
I cannot forget Matayian Ole Risa, the effective government chief from Ildamat.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Maasai people had some of their gallant sons involved in the Mau Mau struggle. Here, I note the role played by Peter Shompole Ole Leroka, who was captured by the colonial masters and later rehabilitated to become a veteran teacher.
Even the Kenya African Union, KAU, the precursor to KANU, had a Maasai in it. This man was Harry Louise Nangurai, their treasurer, and who hailed from Ngong.
In this era of our history, was Taki Ole Kindi, of the Ilterito age-set and who translated the New Testament of the Bible in 1922. We also recognize Reverend John Tompo Ole Mpaayei, the veteran teacher and author from Ilkeekonyokie. This man of God worked as the chairman of the East African Bible Society and as a director of World Vision International, which has over the years, done transformative projects to make human lives better. In his lineage, is our Senator, Philip Salau Mpaayei.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Women have not been left behind in our annals of history. I will particularly wish we recognize the founders of girl-child education in Maasailand, a responsibility for which we continue to strive to achieve desired success todate.
In this category, we honour Loise Mpayiai Nkaaka from Oloitokitok, who was the first Maasai girl to go to school. Hand in hand with this feat, is Zipporah Senterua Pelo, from Ildalalekutuk, who was the first girl to step in a classroom in Narok. This woman of exceptional academic ability, was also the first Maasai girl to join the prestigious Alliance Girls High School in 1949. She was closely followed to Alliance Girls by Emily Nasotokini Pertet from Ilmatapato in 1952.
Less than a kilometre away from where we are, there was a great woman. This woman played a critical role in promotion of education and built a sanctuary in which many Maasai girls were rescued and saved from harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation. Today, I wish to acknowledge Priscilla Nangurai of the Kajiado AIC Primary School, for offering our girls a safe haven to advance their education.
Still in the world of academia, the Maasai people are proud of Gideon Saina Ole Mpoke from Ildalalekutuk, who was a veteran educationist and Secretary of the African District Council. Another great scholar among the Maasai is the Geoffrey Ole Maloiy who was born in Ngong and rose the academic ladder to become a world renown Professor of animal physiology and veterinary medicine at the University of Nairobi.
Others in this category of prominent teachers are Jason Ole Sein, the renown English teacher and successful businessman and rancher as well as the no nonsense disciplinarian, Mwalimu Jonathan Simitia Ole Solitei from Ilkaputiei.
My people of Kajiado,
As we celebrate our heroes, let us recognize the roles played by our political leaders, especially in the post-independent Kenya.
Let us remember Joseph Murumbi, a nationalist who became Kenya’s second Vice President after Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Stanley Shapashina Oloitiptip, the founder MP of Kajiado South in 1963.
We also recognize Kajiado’s first senator, Godfrey Kimoisa Ole Kipury, in whose lineage we have one of the foremost Maasai women scholars, Dr Naomi Kipury.
In the struggle for the second republic, I wish to hail the bravery of Mzee John Keen Ole Kipampi. He remains our very own face of the fight for multi-party democracy in the early 1990s.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Kajiado’s history cannot be complete without our later day heroes whose interaction with Government led to transformative development in various sectors especially in education. Leading this list is Professor George Saitoti who became Vice President and minister in key ministries such as finance, education, and internal security. We all know Professor Saitoti’s role in the starting of our main educational institutions in Kajiado as well as promotion of the spread of the gospel through construction of churches.
Finally, I wish to recognize Major General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry who served in the Kenya Army for many years before becoming MP for Kajiado Central and later Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government.
My People of Kajiado,
All these men and women worked very hard for our well-being as a people. There are many others who we shall continue to recognize and honour going forward. Let us emulate their attitude towards serving humanity. Let us all strive to be a Shujaa.
God Bless you and May the Almighty, bless you all! Enjoy your Mashujaa Day.
H.E Joseph Ole Lenku
Governor, Kajiado County