Uhuru pays tribute to Kenyan heroes and heroines
21 October 2013, 08:05
Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday led Kenyans in paying glowing tribute to the country's heroes and heroines.
The President saluted the sacrifice and heroism of many Kenyans whose vision and conviction won the country 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," the President said.
He added: "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."
The President was addressing the nation from Nyayo National Stadium during his first Mashujaa Day as Head of State. During the occasion, the President also launched the Kenya@50 Celebration Calendar, starting off activities lined up to mark the country's 50 years of independence.
He recalled that the cost of the independence struggle was painful because the colonialists did not consider Africans equal human beings worthy of rights.
Heroes were killed and imprisoned while the rest were stigmatized and hunted down like animals, the President noted.
"The brutality our independence heroes underwent from 20th October, 1952 until the attainment of self-government ten years later defies imagination. It is the reason that we have reverently emblazoned our national flag with the red of their sacred blood," he said.
He acknowledged the unshakable courage, conviction and sacrifice of all those who have served the cause of freedom in Kenya and in Africa.
To honour the legacy of the country's freedom icons, the President said Kenyans should reject all forms of domination and manipulation.
He said external forces seeking to thwart the country's collective aspirations must be confronted head-on.
"They may be powerful and rich, but so were the colonialists. They may disrespect and even hate us; we have defeated their ilk before," the President said.
He emphasized that the struggle to defend the country's independence is a daily calling for all Kenyans.
Besides freedom fighters and political leaders, the President commended all Kenyans who have contributed to the country's socio-economic and cultural development.
He commended the distinguished service of 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," the President said.
The President honoured volunteers who respond to disasters and emergencies, the philanthropists who donate to the needy and the security agents who protect the country 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," the President said.
On the sporting front, the President applauded the country's gallant sons and daughters who have propelled Kenya to international fame.
He cited the national team to the recent World Athletics Championships in Moscow who won a total of 12 medals as an example of the country's heroes on the sporting arena.
He appreciated the national rugby and women's volleyball teams, and other sports teams which have brought glory to Kenya in various events.
"The dedication and resilience of our sportsmen and women are a source of pride to all Kenyans," the President said.
The President said because of the country's heroes and heroines in various fields, Kenya is a proud nation of winners.