The Nation (Nairobi)

19 October 2010

Kenya: Citizens to Celebrate First Mashujaa Day

Nairobi — Kenyans will Wednesday celebrate the first ever Mashujaa Day to honour heroes and heroines who contributed to the nation's liberation struggle.

The day, previously referred to as Kenyatta Day, was renamed this year following the coming into force of the new Constitution.

Apart from Mashujaa Day, two other national holidays are recognised under the new law. These include Madaraka Day to be celebrated on June 1 and Jamhuri Day to be observed on December 12.

On Tuesday, both Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, speaking separately, asked Kenyans to reflect on where the country had come from since independence.

"As we look back at the sacrifices our mashujaa made on our behalf, our overall aim must now be to look forward... it is where we are going that really counts now," said the PM at Lenana High School.

"Now more than ever, our country calls on us to love one another and to put aside once and for all the historical mistrust that has existed between us... above all, our country needs hope," he added.

Similar remarks were made by Mr Musyoka, who asked Kenyans to be proud of their heritage.

While addressing the public after visiting the Kenya National Archives, the building housing Kenya's historical records, the VP said it was time Kenyans realised their dream under the new Constitution.

"Time has come for all of us to realise the dreams our fathers had for this nation," said Mr Musyoka.

Meanwhile, Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu said that over 100 Kenyans who have made remarkable differences in the country will be feted.

The PC further urged Kenyans to participate in the celebrations while assuring them that security has been beefed up to counter any problems that may arise.

The government has taken several initiatives to ensure national heroes and heroines are honoured. Three years ago, it constituted a task force to carry out a countrywide data collection on the criteria for identifying, recognising and honouring them. It is now also possible to recognise and honour members of the Mau Mau movement.

Also recognised as heroes are the Kapenguria Six, who include Kenya's founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggia, Achieng' Oneko, Kungu Karumba and Fred Kubai. The Heritage ministry has built mausoleums for Ngei, Kagia and Oneko, while work is ongoing on Kubai's mausoleum. A monument in honour of Karumba is being built.

The ministry has also developed a Draft National Heroes Bill, which is awaiting Cabinet approval.

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