, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – As hundreds of vehicles carrying dignitaries, senior government officials and private citizens sped off after conclusion of Mashujaa Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, David Kamau and his comrade Simon Thiga walk slowly back to the city centre.
Dressed in suits and ties, Kamau and Thiga are former freedom fighters from Embu County who are also proud of being called ‘Mashujaa.’
The scotching sun does not dampen their mood, however; “I’m happy to be here today. Being alive, seeing my country at peace, it is more than enough,” Kamau said.
They were also contented with President Kenyatta’s speech which called out to people to remain united, spread love and shun divisive politics that separate people.
“We should heed what the President has asked us to do. We have to preserve what many of us suffered to get for this country,” Thiga explained.
He added that he was also pleased by the fact that non-Kikuyu heroes had also been recognized as Mau Mau heroes. According to Thiga, this was an important step as it distinguished the efforts of every remaining hero who was involved in the fight for freedom for Kenya.
“I however want to urge the government to do its part. Many of us are still languishing in poverty because no one came back to compensate us. Yes, we have been promised that compensation is on the way, but we are old now, there cannot be waiting for too long.”
Margaret Wanjiru Njoroge from Kiambu County was also part of the heroes being celebrated.
Seated at the left hand side of the Presidential Dias, Wanjiru said she traveled from far to witness the sixth mashujaa day as it meant a lot to here.
“My husband was a fighter; to be here feels good. It shows that Kenyans everywhere are appreciating what my husband died for,” Wanjiru said.
Accompanying Wanjiru were several women who said they are the offspring of Kenya’s fallen colonial era heroes. They explained that they had to grow up without fathers for the sake of the peace and freedom of Kenya. They urged Kenyans to therefore remain peaceful in honour of such sacrifices.
Inaugurated six years ago, Mashujaa Day was created after Moi Day and Kenyatta Day were scrapped to celebrate the Country’s heroes including the unsung ones.
“We celebrate our past and modern day heroes and heroines whose deeds have touched the lives of Kenyans in one way or another. Heroes and heroines, for who challenges presented opportunities to excel and prove themselves strong. They all remind us that no challenge is in insurmountable when we remain united and focused on our goals,” said President Kenyatta when addressing the nation.
The remarks by the heroes comes months after the unveiling of a Mau Mau monument at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park which was set up to celebrate Mau Mau freedom fighters and pre-colonial heroes.