The greatest achievement Kenya ever had, was its Independence from British colonialism. In a way to remind the entire Nation about the importance of freedom in Kenya, a holiday should be set up in honor of the Kenya Hero and freedom fighter, the late Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi wa Ciuri. Dedan Kimathi who led others into the forest to liberate Kenyans from Colonialism, was considered a terrorist by the Kenya Colonizers until his death, and years after his death. Successive Kenyan leaders have never raised the importance of the role Dedan Kimathi and other freedom fighters played, to bring into Kenya, the freedom Kenyans continue to enjoy up to this day.
The late Jomo Kenyatta never mentioned the name, Dedan Kimathi in the entire period of his 15 years reign, leave alone mentioning the name Mau Mau. The furthest Jomo went in as far as Kenya freedom was concerned was, and I quote, “Tulinyakua Uhuru Kutoka kwa Wabeberu”, and all about the freedom struggles ended there. The late Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi also never mentioned either the Mau Mau Struggles or the name Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi, at any one given time, during his 24 years of reign. Only Emilio Mwai Kibaki, came close to honoring Kimathi, when he erected a monument in his remembrance. Uhuru Kenyatta, like his father, never honored or remembered Kimathi in his 10 years reign.
The name of Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi remained forgotten in Kenya for many years after Independence, until July 1990, when the late Nelson Mandela visited Kenya, with the intention to see the grave of the Mau Mau legendary leader, and pay respect to the man he considered his Hero. During his visit Mandela said and I quote “In my 27 years of imprisonment, I always saw the images of fighters such as Kimathi, China and others, as candles in my long and hard way against injustice. It is an honour for any freedom fighter to pay respect to such heroes” Nelson Mandela always quoted the Statement, ” It is better to die on our feet than to live on our knees for fear of Colonial rule”.
Nelson Mandela visited Kenya again in 2003, during which time, he was allowed by the then President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, to meet the widow of Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi, Mrs. Mukami Kimathi. After Mrs. Mukami Kimati’s meeting with Nelson Mandela, she said, “Mandela told me he is grateful for our struggles in the fight to liberate Kenya, he said his experience taught him how painful it is to fight for independence”.
In most other nations in the World, where freedom cost the lives of many people, Heroes are remembered through the setting up of Holidays in their honor. In USA, the late Martin Luther King Junior is remembered every 3rd. day of January every year. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela is remembered every July 18 of every year. In India, Mahatma Gandhi is remembered on October 2nd of every year. A day should be set up in Kenya for the remembrance and in honor of Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi wa Ciuri. The importance and the value of freedom in Kenya, will be instilled in the minds of Kenyans every year, whenever Kenyans go for this Holiday, to remember and to honor Kimathi. It is one way of promoting patriotism in the youth in Kenya, who are very ignorant of the struggles made, to achieve freedom in Kenya from the Colonialists. The history of the Mau Mau struggles for the freedom of Kenya from the Colonialists is of paramount importance to all Kenyans. To keep that awareness of the freedom alive, the individual freedom fighters in Kenya should be remembered as is done in other Nations of the World. Therefore, “the Kenya Government has a demanding obligation to set up October 31, as a Holiday to remember Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi wa Ciuri every year”. I always say, ” It matters not how long it takes to solve a problem but how long to live with it”.
Dr. Isaac Newton Kinity
Counselor and Human Rights Activist.
Former Secretary General
Kenya Civil Servants Union.