Let's recall and actualise freedom fighters' dreams

Freedom fighter Brigadier John Kiboko during the burial of Mukami Kimathi, the widow of Mau Mau freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi at Njabini ,Nyandarua county on May 13, 2023. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]

Today Kenya turns 60. The journey has been great but with the usual ups and downs. Attaining self-rule on June 1 was a dream of the country’s fathers and with it was born a vision of a country where tribe and cultural diversity were bonding factors; the spirit of harambee, of coming together for a common purpose, pervaded all corners.

It was in the interest of every citizen that prosperity was a shared goal and the fruit of joint labour. Looking back, we have made great strides as a nation. However, we seem to have lost the glue that held us together when we wrested control of our destiny from the colonialists.

In his speech on June 1, 1963 President Jomo Kenyatta sold the idea of one country for all. He emphasised that the government is for everyone, those in Kanu and those in Kadu. He never preached about those with shares in government or that state appointments were reserved for certain tribes. The current lot can learn from the dreams of our fathers. It is laughable that 60 years after independence we still have skewed appointments, based on tribe, to government offices.

Isn’t it telling that even the recruitment of teachers can only benefit a few big tribes? Countrymen, isn’t it worrisome that decades after the big promise, cholera is still ravaging the country. It is time to refocus our lenses and drop the selfishness that is dragging back our governance.

The country is faced with myriads of challenges but for as long as the government feels the opposition is the threat and vice versa disease, ignorance and hunger will continue plaguing us. Today is a day of reflection. The blueprint was set many decades ago. We need to assess how are we faring and what adjustments ought to be done to enable our great country to reach its potential and fulfill its ambitions. Antagonism, greed, thievery and graft will only sink us deeper into the abyss.

We call upon, first, the leaders to show that it can be done. Second, the citizens should reflect critically on our role in the betterment of society and in fulfilling that vision. Last, the president, as the symbol of national unity, should rejuvenate the national ethos and guide the country to greatness.