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KENYA CELEBRATES FIRST MASHUJAA DAY OCT 20

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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They turned up in their thousands to honour valour and gallantry and pay tribute to heroism and sacrifice for the nation’s sake. On foot, in cars, and in every village and township they arrived at the venues of the first Mashujaa Day fete to pay glowing tribute to those without whose blood, sweat, and pain Kenya’s would be a different story. Led by the President and the Prime Minister, the names of the heroes and heroines easily rolled off the lips - but even the forgotten and the unknown had their day. It was the day Kenya’s past, present and future formed a confluence of emotions — a river that flowed flawlessly reminding all and sundry where the freedom narrative began and where the liberators wanted the nation to be. Later it would be the moment to remember, the living and the dead, those without privilege of office and social tags, have rewritten Kenyan story through their resistance to injustices, or won Kenya honour on the track, sporting fields, or even from their humble seats of public service.The President paid special tribute to founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the Kapenguria Six — Ramogi Achieng’ Oneko, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kagia, Kungu Karumba and Fred Kubai — as well as Dedan Kimathi and his comrades. “These great Kenyans, through courage and determination, galvanised the struggle for Kenya’s independence,” he added.The post-Independent heroes and heroines were assembled and walked before the national dais at the national celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium, on Wednesday, with the gait of Spanish matadors. The President noted while the Kapenguria Six and many others were in detention, the flame of independence struggle was kept burning by other nationalists, among them, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Ronald Ngala, Masinde Muliro, Tom Mboya, Martin Shikuku, Jean Marie Seroney, Bernard Mati, Lawrence Sagini, James Gichuru, and retired President Moi.

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