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President Uhuru Kenyatta's 55th Jamhuri Day speech

12, Dec 2018

Fifty-five years ago today, our beautiful flag was hoisted for the first time; announcing our pride in the independence we had won.  It embraced our identity as a free people, recalled the sacrifices that had been made to win our freedom, and laid claim to our blessed land.   Our national anthem was heard for the first time, praying for unity, peace, justice, and liberty; and then calling us to serve and defend our motherland. Fellow Kenyans,   As we go about our daily routine building our nation, let us always remember those visionary words of our National Anthem.  In particular, our young Kenyans must know that our freedom was not given to us on a silver platter.  It was fought for and we must continue to defend it at all times. Men and women, most of whom are no longer with us, and some whom you see here today quite elderly now, fought to free us from the oppression and indignity of colonialism.  They endured immense cruelties and indignities, but they remained strong and united in the struggle.   Their movement changed the world.  They struggled forward as Africans, united to their brothers and sisters in the different colonies by the desire to forge a free and prosperous Africa.   My challenge to our youth is to keep the flame of our freedom fighters movement burning, keep Kenyans united and bring Africa together.  You have in you the spirit of the great men and women who fought to bring to life an independent Kenya.  Always remember them and do not betray their cause. Fellow Kenyans, We are, Yes, independent but we must remember that our nation has new enemies and our freedom faces new threats.  We have men and women in uniform today who are standing in harm’s way away from home to safeguard our liberties.   We salute those who have fallen in the line of duty; we honour their sacrifice; and we thank them and their families from the bottom of our hearts. My Fellow Kenyans,    The first generation of independent Kenyans knew political independence was important but not sufficient to build a free, secure and prosperous country.   They knew we needed to be free from poverty, ignorance and disease. To forge ahead, they introduced economic and development plans that sought to build sufficient prosperity for the country to be able to defeat poverty, ignorance and disease.   Their policies helped us develop the biggest and most diverse economy in East and Central Africa.  We went from having one referral hospital in 1963 to six public ones, today, in addition to a host of private ones.  With better health and nutrition, Kenyans today are living nearly twice as long, on average, as their fathers did at independence.  Moreover, far fewer mothers die in childbirth.