The death of Field Marshall Mukami Kimathi, the widow of her fellow Mau Mau freedom hero Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi, brought the political class together again with their usual narrative of how passionate they are about respect for our heroes, gone and present.
Listening to their speeches, it is clear that they are knowledgeable about the sacrifices made by our heroes that led to the attainment of our independence and subsequent enjoyment of our freedoms and rights.
We have buried many heroes and all were poor while our leaders, who do not have any fingerprints for the liberation movement and fight for good order in our country, wallow in wealth.
The history of our land, as told by our founding fathers and mothers, is a constant reminder that its teachings and bearings are intertwined with our current and future generations and, for that, we cannot wish it away.
We are reminded that what we have was never given because of the benevolence of those in power but was fought for and that fight was led by a heroine such as Mukami.
As she joins the freedom fighters who went before her, our only gift should be never to look back but be vigilant and courageous in protecting the gains she fought for. The work of making Kenya great is far from over.
Ronald Reagan said: “Perhaps you and I have lived with this miracle too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
Prevent downward spiral
Kenyans from across the nation must stand to be counted in this fight to prevent the downward spiral of our democratic and political gains.
The passing on of our mother Mukami must invigorate in us a desire to appreciate and honour our heroes and heroines before their death.
We should never again wait for another one to pass away before we do so. President William Ruto has promised that Kimathi’s remains shall be found and accorded a decent burial.
We must identify all our heroes and heroines, dead and alive, and ensure that their past endeavours towards emancipation of our nation, politically and democratically, are appreciated and well documented for this and future generations.
Naming a road in their honour is not enough; let’s respond to their wishes and, as a nation, try to implement such wishes for the prosperity of our nation.
In appreciating our heroes and heroines, let’s encourage the living ones to tell their stories of our liberation. We should learn from them about their roles and, as a result, learn how to improve our nation going forward. And the adage has it, you cannot know where you are going if you do not know and appreciate where you are coming from.
- Mr Ochieng is a political analyst. [email protected].