SPEECH BY H.E JOSEPH OLE LENKU,GOVERNOR, COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF KAJIADODURING THE 55TH MASHUJAA DAY AT THE KCB GROUNDS, KAJIADO TOWN ON 20TH OCTOBER, 2019
All leaders from all walks of life;
Our friends and Development Partners;
Distinguished people of Kajiado;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We gather here to celebrate Mashujaa Day, a time dedicated to honoring and recognizing the heroes and heroines who brought us to where we are today.
Some of these mashujaa paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their lives in securing the freedoms we cherish. Kenya, and Kajiado, have a long history filled with many great names that we show honor and respect to during this time of remembrance and celebration.
In cherished memory, we reflect on these men and women, their accomplishments as well as the sacrifices they made. For example, recently, in Kajiado, just nearby in Kisaju, we had a ‘state’ burial of the most celebrated of our recent heroes, Mzee Daniel Kasirimo Ole Muyaa, the long serving Chairman of Olkejuado County Council.
Here, we witness a patriot who sacrificed his comfort in service to his people and his country. The county honoring him in this way was to recognize that he never laboured in vain. We shall remain perpetually grateful to those who went before us for their effort and contribution to create a more vibrant and prosperous Kajiado. It is our desire that we leave Kajiado a better place then we found it.
Mzee Ole Muyaa was a friend, a father and my personal advisor who I meet with so often.
He always advised me on the importance of unity and leaders working together to create a conducive environment for prosperity and sound development for posterity. This is my appeal to my fellow leaders that we listen and take to heart his words and honor of this departed hero.
Therefore, allow me, with a lot of humility, and respect for his family who are with us here, to request that we stand for a minute of silence in honour of the departed great son of the Maa nation – Mzee Ole Muyaa!
Ashe oleng! Thank you!
Ladies and gentlemen:
On the Monday of October 20th, 1952, that is 67 years ago, a very dark ‘cloud’ of suppression descended upon our nation. The British foreign rule declared a state of emergency on our land; and they started an operation to forcefully arrest and prosecute Mzee Kenyatta and other African leaders of our freedom struggle.
True, many of us, in this generation, were not there, then. But we know that our leaders paid heavily, some paid the ultimate price of losing their lives, for our sake; they were jailed so that we can be free; they fought for us to enjoy peace today.
Out of their struggle, came our freedom; and out of their pain and loss, came our gain!
A few emotions excite us more than those of the events of the Mashujaa Day we are celebrating now. This is because our heroes of freedom sacrificed their all; they waged a long and bloody war to secure our freedoms and liberties.
Indeed, there are few people in our history who stood firmer and braver in the spirit of courage, unity and sacrifice than Mashujaa wetu wa uhuru.
From the villages of Lari, the ominous detention camps of Manyani, the cold caves of the Aberdares to the thick bushes of the foothills of the majestic Mt. Kenya, our heroes refused to budge and accept a foreigner to decide our destiny.
Therefore, every time we meet, like this, to celebrate Mashujaa Day we affirm the historical reality that our freedom today was not given; was not granted freely. It came through the sweat and blood of selfless patriots of our great land.
Hence, this is a time that requires a reflection to our heritage, a re-evaluation of today’s challenges and a vision for a healthier future!
This moment is, equally, a reminder to reaffirm our commitment, our dedication, to the ideals for which these fighters stood for and were ready to die, if necessary! This commitment should find its expression in our present courage, unity and sacrifices in meeting the aspirations of this generation to determine their destiny.
The unity of purpose of the freedom heroes serves as a sterling example for us, the Maa nation. Part of our common tradition, from Narok to Kajiado, Laikipia to Samburu, Baringo to Nakuru, is courage and facing challenges in our natural environment decidedly.
Therefore, as we celebrate Mashujaa Day, this year, this time, this day, provides one crucial moment we cannot afford to lose; the Maa moment; the Maa turning point.
However, our history of clannism and division serves as a warning to us that united we stand, divided we fall! It wasn’t smooth sailing for our heroes and heroines of freedom; it won’t be smooth sailing for us either. But I know, for sure, it is doable! Day by day, one by one, we will continue with what our freedom champions began.
My people, the Maa unity is not only rooted in our shared warrior tradition but, also, in our openness to live and work together with the rest of Kenya. Our Post-independence heroes, some with mixed pedigree, affirms our commitment to unity and coexistence with our neighbours and friends.
Outstanding amongst these heroes are Hon. Stanley Shapashina Ololoitiptip, Hon. Godfrey Kimoisa Ole Kipury (our first senator), Hon. William Ronkorua Ole Ntimama, Hon. John Keen and Major (Rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry who served where we are as Member of Parliament and Interior Cabinet Secretary. We are proud as a community to have offered this great nation not one, but two vice presidents: Hon. Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi and Hon. George Musengi Saitoti.
Therefore, I can stand here today certain that our great community will continue to put forth more strong leaders for our country.
At the same time, they will remain the symbol of tolerance and accommodation to other Kenyans, regardless of their ethnicity.
We, the locals and those who have joined us from elsewhere, we are united, in diversity, by a common aspiration for a peaceful county and a progressive nation. I say to you our friends that let this be your destination of choice for a brighter future! Kajiado is a land of promise; the ‘Canaan’ of sorts across the Athi River.
Ladies and gentlemen:
It is only when we join hands in unity of purpose in our environment that we can truly celebrate our Mashujaa here in Kajiado. This land produced great men and women and we need a long time to enumerate their achievements.
For example, on the wake of our independence, when the country needed the first African director of medical services as the Europeans for which it was discriminatively reserved for hitherto were leaving, it was our own son, Dr. Jason Likimani, who filled in the void. At the time, few if any, Kenyans had had any meaningful medical training.
He was a trail blazer and an outstanding example to our youth today that the Maa are, equally, up to it in education and training.
In similar efforts, we cannot forget Mama Zipporah Senterua, the earliest of the nurses in Kajiado who helped to lay the foundation of modern hospital nursing in our county.
Just a few days ago, President Kenyatta noticed the contribution of Mzee Moiyiae Nkaka Ole Kurrarru who gave us the great gift of water by donating his land which provides free access to the source of the Kimuka/Saikeri/Oloisho-Oibor water Pipeline.
Further, for tens of hundreds of years, our warriors, bound by culture and history, bravely roamed unmatched, in skill and tactic, in the Great Rift Valley of Eastern Africa. Our reputation is unrivaled in this region.
As we remember the fallen mashujaa who had to heroically battle foreign empires, brandishing weapons of war and fighting for their lives to bring forward the Kenya we hold dear, today we have new giants, new heroes, who make our nation to shine.
Because of our hard earned freedom we can now fight on a global scale for greater and more peaceful things: for the glory of human achievement. Today, we have new heroes to look up to, heroes who fight not in the forest and caves but who run on the roads of Europe to the cheering crowds made up of citizens from around the world; today we honor a new hero, a sporting champion, Eliud Kipchoge who we stand in solidarity with; his resilience was as admirable as it was inspirational. We salute his unyielding determination and those of our Maa athletics heroes, David Rudisha and Billy Konchellah before him.
Away from the international scenes, it is not lost on us, at all, that the struggles of everyday people, today, bespeak of the same courage, same determination, that has dotted our land for years.
I think of that herdsman, in the dry Torosei, who has to cover hundreds of kilometers daily to feed his flock; I think of that mother with his baby strapped on the back in rural Lenkisim going out daily to look for food and water for her family; I think of that teacher in Meto who goes out of her way to drive illiteracy out of our community; I think of that relentless kiosk vendor in Isinya and Ngong who wakes up at 5 o’clock in the morning, every day, to earn a honesty living.
From the deepest depth of my heart, I pay homage to these gallant men and women of Kajiado, who are part and parcel of our efforts to develop this great county. We respect you; we appreciate you! You are the reason I wake up every morning with the hope that today and tomorrow will be better than yesterday. It is this hope that I give you as we press on and remain steady in our goal of keeping Kajiado raising in the best and worst of times!
In this celebratory mood though we are not unmindful of the current disturbing situation that our land can hardly feed us!
This threatens to negate the spirit of access to food and land that our freedom heroes dreamt of. Owing to our failures of the past, land utilization, adjudication and disposal has a lot of room for improvement. We have so much potential and its harnessing only depends on solving problems revolving around land.
Consequently, this has left the County Government with no option but to balance the interests of all stakeholders through the implementation of the County Spatial Plan.
The plan seeks to safeguard both the local community and investors against land cartels that have descended on our county leaving behind sad tales of loss and agony, if not crippling poverty! It clearly delineates separate lands for pastoralism, human settlement, industries and business.
Ladies and gentlemen: The fact that so many of us in rural Kajiado still face pangs of hunger in our everyday lives, is a glaring reminder that the freedom, and the dignity our forebears painstakingly fought for, is yet to be fully achieved.
This has brought a new sense of purpose to my administration.
Not only is food security an integral part of my government’s priorities, but the dire need to empower our people economically through strategic agribusiness ventures is, now, a matter top priority.
It is clear to us that farming is not an option in view of diminishing land size and increasing populations. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than around Selenkei/Olkeriai River, the Nolturesh Belt, and the Nkuruman Escarpment and the plains served by the newly found Kimuka/Saikeri/Oloisho-Oibor Pipeline.
We desire to empower our people to do the farming themselves as opposed to just leasing their land. I have formed an inter-departmental action plan group bringing together the Agriculture, Cooperatives, Irrigation and Public Works departments to develop a food security empowerment concept paper for Cabinet and County Assembly approval to enable budgetary consideration.
We are also working to protect and strengthen the business opportunities for our urban centres.
As part of our efforts, we have invested a great deal of resources into building markets in our towns to take care of ever growing urban population. This lot, as in the case of the rural farmers mentioned above, have my government’s support so that together we can build a more equitable society and create a better tomorrow.
We are witnessing some individuals working against the spirit of Kajiado. By diverting our rivers to private fams, securing a water source for personal gains against community interests, is a selfish behavior and greed that will not go unaddressed. Recently, we found out that this is happening around Nolturesh River. Nolturesh must flow to its final destination as it did in the days of our heroes. Similarly, those in our urban centres diverting raw sewage into storm water drainage systems will equally be punished. Their greed that pollutes our environment and endangers our lives will not be allowed to continue. As Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Nationalist leader observed, the world has enough for all of us, but not enough for our greed.
Our independence heroes, whose efforts we are celebrating today, fought for the ideals of fairness and justice; they fought for access to opportunities by everyday Kenyans ; they fought for good health care for all, good education for our children and self-sufficiency in food.
The Maa nation made a miss-step by not embracing modern education. On the other hand, the fight to reclaim land was an independence struggle ideal. But we, the Maa, went the self-defeating direction of selling land. Further, our negative clan allegiance goes contrary to the call to cohension and national unity, very well articulated in our constitution. Cummulatively, we are at the verge of losing our voice !
It is time to retract our steps ! As our great fallen hero, Dedan Kimathi, said, “It is better to die on our feet than live on our knees.” The Maa nation is at a crossroads.
Therefore, we need to reclaim our lost glory ; correct the malaise of illiteracy ; stop the reckless disposal of our land and embrace one another in unity of purpose. This will enable us to play our rightful role in national politics as our heroes we enumerated above did.
No price is too high for me to pay in pursuit of this just path ; our voice must be heard.
Our contribution to our nation must be selfless, much in keeping with our freedom struggle heroes, whom we are celebrating today.
I pledge my utter obedience to this cause and I promise the people of Kajiado that I am committed to progress that is beneficial to all of us because I am guided by the spirit of being stronger, together
Thank you !God bless Kajiado ; God bless Kenya !
H.E JOSEPH OLE LENKU,
GOVERNOR, KAJIADO COUNTY