, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – The government will erect a national monument in honour of all the country’s heroes at Uhuru Gardens before the end of next year.
In his address during the Mashujaa Day celebrations on Wednesday, President Mwai Kibaki expressed his administration’s commitment to pay tribute to all those people whose hard work and courage have left a mark in the lives of other Kenyans and in the history and development of the country.
“Mashujaa are men and women who have made a lasting mark in the lives of fellow Kenyans and in the history and development of our country,” said the President.
“They are men and women who have taken great risks in service to save, advance and protect their fellow citizens. These are also men and women whose hard work, courage and perseverance have had a great impact on the socio-economic well being of our people.”
The Head of State made special mention of freedom fighters like Mekatilili wa Menza, and Koitalel arap Samoei. He also paid tribute to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the Kapenguria Six.
“While the Kapenguria Six and many others were in detention, the flame of independence was kept burning by nationalists among them Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Ronald Ngala, Masinde Muliro, Tom Mboya, Martin Shikuku, Jean Marie Seroney, Bernard Mate, Lawrence Sagini, James Gichuru, Pio Gama Pinto and retired President Daniel arap Moi to mention but a few.”
He also saluted modern day heroes who have contributed to the social and economic progress in the country.
“Our present day Mashujaa are those who, through hard work and perseverance, are creating agricultural, industrial and service enterprises that have created jobs and increased incomes for Kenyans,” he explained as he acknowledged Kenyan companies that have made regional and global impact through innovation and export of goods and services.
“Our scholars have also placed us on the international map and inspired a new generation of Mashujaa. These include: Scientist Thomas Odhiambo, historian Bethuel Ogot, political scientist Ali Mazrui, author Ngugi wa Thiong’o, public health specialist Miriam Were, as well the Nobel laureate and environmentalist Wangari Maathai.”
Sports greats, some of whom were present at the Nyayo Stadium during the event were also saluted.
“Today, Kenyans are dominating Olympic, Commonwealth and continental athletics and our rugby team continues to shine. These are some of our modern day Mashujaa,” said the President.
President Kibaki hailed the new Constitution which he said creates framework for an enabling environment for transforming the nation.
“We have created institutions of governance that have the necessary checks and balances to ensure that there is no abuse of power and human rights,” he said while singling out the new devolved system of government.
“This will bring government nearer to our communities and empower the citizens. The new Constitution also provides a legal framework for gender equality and women empowerment.”
Kenya marked the first Mashujaa Day celebrations on Wednesday, after the new Constitution converted the national day from Kenyatta Day in order to recognise more citizens for their contribution to society.