(Feature photo: Jomo Kenyatta, urged unity and vision to the Kenyan people. – Attribution: Webmann, Ludwig Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F021894-0006 / Wegmann, Ludwig / CC-BY-SA)
This year, on June 1, Madaraka Day, Kenya celebrates fifty years since it established internal self-rule.
In 1963, Jomo Kenyatta, father of newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, urged unity and vision to the Kenyan people. “I ask for the cooperation of every man and woman in this land to help build the new nation. In the past we have known racial hatred in this land. Let there be forgiveness.”
Fifty years later, his son, Uhuru Kenyatta, shared the same dream with his fellow Kenyans.
“I dream of a Kenya where we will not only be proud of our diverse heritage and cultures, but also where we will united around our common aspirations as Kenyan.”
He continued, “Kenya is not a collection of 42 tribes who have to live together. Kenya is one nation, assembled by divine providence and held together for the last 50 years by our common bond and belief in a brighter future for us and our children.”
The dream of “we the people of Kenya,” is enshrined in their Kenyan constitution. The “aspiration of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy and social justice, and the rule of law” is rooted on the acknowledgement of the “Almighty God” and pride of its diversity.
Among commitments that President Kenyatta laid out, were, a commitment to national unity, investments in green energy, moral and effective governance, an industrial revolution to propel Kenya to Vision 2030, a foreign policy, maternal health and the education and well-being of the youth.
Yet, the Kenyan people know that beyond the government’s efforts, it is really the people’s commitment and efforts that will propel Kenya forward. An editorial in The Standard Digital News reflected that as Kenya looks back on 50 years of successes and mistakes and moves towards the next 20 years, it is a time for “everyday heroism among citizens”.
“Encouraging and rewarding this kind of attitude to nation building will create a new breed of heroes that could transform the country radically.”