SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR HON. DR. MOHAMED ABDI KUTI ON THE OCCASION OF 2017 SHUJAA DAY CELEBRATION VENUE: ISIOLO COUNTY STADIUM DATE: 20TH OCTOBER 2017
The County Commissioner,
The County senator,
Members of the National Assembly,
Speaker of the County Assembly;
County Assembly Members,
County Executive Committee Members,
Staff of the County and National Government present,
The Clergy and Imam’s,
Members of the fourth estate,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to take this early opportunity to welcome you all to this year’s Shujaa day celebrations and thank you most sincerely for gracing us with your presence.
National Shujaa Day always provides us with an important moment for reflection.We use this occasion to remember the bravery, courage, resilience and persistence of those who struggled, in various ways, to ensure that today we can enjoy the fruits of freedom and Independence. Today we pause, once again, to salute the exemplary and extraordinary lives and contributions of our National Heroes and Heroines
To me, our yearly celebration of this great day represents three things.
First, it is an act of remembering. We remember people who, at the beginning, had their own personal concerns. They all had individual ambitions: to finish school, to find someone to love, to start a family, to set up and grow a business or advance in their careers, and to live peaceful lives. But when they were confronted with events that affected not just them, but their countrymen, they found themselves at a crossroads. They could have chosen to remain focused on their private battles, disregarding what was going on around them, yet they chose to set aside their personal agendas, their fears, and their own needs to fight for the benefit of the many. They were fully aware of the dangers of going against those who had power, but they did not waver. They knew that if they did not use their intellect and their strength to resist it, then the vicious cycle of colonization, abuse and violence would continue. These are the people we consider heroes. Is it not true what they say—that heroes are ordinary people who were placed in extraordinary situations, and yet still chose to do what is right?
Second, this celebration is also a thanksgiving. Today, because of their sacrifices, we enjoy different forms of freedom: We are free from colonialism; we are free from the violence and devastation of war; we are free from dictatorship. We are free to express our opinions and reach for our dreams.
Third, this is also an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of being a hero, not only in the past, but in our present situation. This is vital because even if our society has made much progress, it is clear that our battles continue. Apart from this, the responsibility to make certain that we will bequeath to coming generations a county freer and more progressive still rests on our shoulders. Indeed, times have changed, and thus, the forms of heroism we are capable of living out have changed as well.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is personal for me to define heroism. We come from different backgrounds, and our abilities vary. Thus, each one of us is given a unique opportunity to serve our county and our fellow people.
We must always remember that there are many heroes who remain anonymous—whose deeds are not known to many. There are our people who, instead of giving up in the face of calamities, helped and worked alongside their countymen without a second thought. There are the teachers who devote their lives to guiding the succeeding generations. There are the members of law enforcement who choose to fulfill their responsibilities, instead of giving in to the temptation of easy money. There are our soldiers who protect our territory and people with true courage. There are the professionals who use their skills and knowledge to serve their people. There are the leaders of religious institutions who are our allies in fighting corruption and in pushing for reform. And there are all our countymen each and every citizen who strives for success, in order to become a productive member of society. On behalf of the Isiolo people, I thank all of you. You are proof that our county is indeed a county of heroes.
The latest estimates of our county population reveal that we are around 180 thousand people at present. On days like this, I cannot help but think, and ask myself: What can be achieved when a hundred and eighty thousand people work arm-in-arm towards a single goal? We can achieve great things, indeed we can achieve anything we target to achieve. However there are still a select and selfish few who remain determined to hold us back. This is the fight that confronts us today: to remain vigilant against those who seek to sow doubt and lies; to stand firm and refuse to allow ourselves to be manipulated by those who only pretend at reform; to reject the crooked, and resolve to stay on the straight path.
We have been treading the straight path for last few months. The seeds of change we have sown are already bearing fruit—and, seeing this, those who want to take advantage of the people are becoming desperate. Let us not waste the opportunity we have today. This is the only way that we can repay and honor the heroes who sacrificed much, so that our county could arrive at its present state. This is the only way for us to ensure that, when the next generations commemorate National Heroes Day, they will remember, express their gratitude for, and reflect on this chapter of our history, and they will say: This was indeed the time when all the Isiolo people decided, as one people, to become heroes.
Fellow county men and women,
Every age and generation faces unique challenges. However, there are some things that remain common to us regardless of changes in time and space. Our ancestors taught us to galvanize our uniqueness to bravely and creatively face all our challenges. The bolstering courage of our heroes and heroine runs in our genes. Their constant reminders to unite as a people to face the challenges that confront us as a nation, are replayed in our consciousness from generation to generation.
It is undeniable. At every major moment in our history, when faced with challenges that have tested our individual and collective strength, patience and determination, we have emerged stronger and better. I know many persons face the tests of our time. Many are, understandably preoccupied with issues of daily survival.
A significant number of our people have already experienced, or are even now, feeling the severe impact of drought and famine. This serious emergency presents all of us with the opportunity to be modern day heroes and heroines in our own right. In this regard, the fight to militate against this disaster, can only be won if we all display personal responsibility in our homes, work places and communities.
At this time, the Government continues to put systems in place, and to do all we can in an effort to prevent drought emergencies. Let us, all as critical stakeholders from every sector of our society, stand together, and work together to overcome these challenges and threats.
Even as we deal with the current situation as a Government we have to continue to safeguard our economy. We are going for growth with job creation. Even though there is more distance to cover in the journey to prosperity, we have already seen some encouraging signs of growth, investments and we are making a start in creating new jobs. It requires united action to make life better for those families facing difficulties and those of us who are having a hard time coping. Shujaa Day presents an opportunity for us to recapture the fighting spirit of our ancestors as we work as one people shaping a better future together.
No matter what the challenges are that confront us, as a people, it is not in our character to allow hopelessness and despair to overcome us. We never give up hope. We never have and we never will. In the past, faced with the most brutal conditions of enslavement, our ancestors never lost hope. Instead they boldly confronted their struggles, planned diligently and drew on all their inner reserves of fortitude. They carved out a better future for themselves and for the present generation.
Like our ancestors, our heroes and heroine we have to stay focused and strong. We must Rise up, stand and take our place; we must Shine like the sun; we must Rise up, stand like the brave; and we must Rule our destiny, and be the best that we can be. We have to remain resolute. We must remain responsible and calm. We must look out for each other, caring for those who are most vulnerable, checking in on those who are weak and disadvantaged.
As a people we stand today on our proven practices of community spirit and planning steadfastly for success. It is the great and noble traditions of fortitude and resilience that we celebrate on this Heroes Day.
As we reflect on National Heroes Day, we need to ask ourselves: What legacy will we leave for future generations? How are we helping to build this great county of ours? What are the good deeds that will be remembered long after we are gone?
The answers are to be found in the various contributions we all make to our county, whether large or small.
When we give of our best in any job we do, we are helping to build Isiolo.
Whenever we share with our neighbours and care for the less fortunate, we are helping to strengthen our communities and society.
When we make sacrifice today for tomorrow’s progress, we are helping to make our county stronger.
When we lift each other up with our expressions and respect our positive traditions, we are truly building our county.
Today, I salute all those who stand in the tradition of self-sacrifice and service that our National Heroes and Heroines handed down to us. I salute all Isiolo people from all walks of life who prove every day that they are true heroes and heroines. Let us arise and build this great and beautiful land of ours and turn challenges into opportunities.
We are a great people. Our best days are still ahead. Our National Heroes and Heroine have left us a solid foundation. Let us build on it.
May all of us use this Shujaa Day to reaffirm our commitment to our county, this land we love so dearly. Through our expressions and our traditions let us build this county…
Have a happy and safe Shujaa Day.