Day Of Defender Marks What Kenyan Mashujaa Stand For
Kenyans are gearing for Mashujaa Day on Tuesday 20th October. Although the day honours the country’s heroes who fought for freedom from colonial rule, it represents much more than meets the eye.
Great heroes are recognised the world over because of the role they play in making their countries progress. Kenya has not been left behind and follows in the footsteps of countries like Ukraine that celebrated Day of Defender on October 14.
Initially, Mashujaa Day was known as Kenyatta Day and was celebrated in honour of Kenya’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta and a few other freedom fighters.
However, after the new constitution was promulgated on August 24, 2010, the name was changed, marking a new beginning in Kenya’s history for allshujaas. National days in honour of the selected few became a thing of the past; as did Moi Day that was celebrated every October 10.
Four key lessons drawn from this move to honour heroes from all walks of life can be drawn from Ukraine’s Day of Defender:
1. It Takes Courage
A night raid organised by the Army and the Kenya police was organised in the 1950s to find members of the Mau Mau. Getty Images
Not everyone has the willpower to stand up for their country when push comes to shove; but there are men and women who took it upon themselves to take on the aggressor. Just like in Ukraine where warriors fought against hybrid war by the Russian Federation, Kenyan mashujaas saw a threat to their independence and sovereignty and decided enough was enough: they decided to put an end to colonial rule.
2. Perseverance Is A Virtue
Even after their decision to fight for the country’s independence, the war was very difficult for Ukraine to withstand. But in what they call the power of the unbroken, the warriors held on through to the end. Kenyan shujaas were jailed, tortured and even killed but that did not stop them from continuing the fight for the country’s freedom.
3. Mashujaa Make Us Patriotic
“This holiday is aimed to honor courage and heroism of defenders of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said on October
The Day of Defender resonates has a nationwide character because it resonates with all Ukrainians. The character of the warriors describes what being a Ukrainian means:
“This holiday is aimed to honor courage and heroism of defenders of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said on October 14.
Mashujaa Day does the same for Kenya: we are proud to be Kenyans because our heroes broke the chains of colonialism, whose main intention was to divide and conquer.
4. Free To Elect Leaders
A country’s independence means the electorate is free to vote for their leader of choice without external interference or intimidation. This is at the heart of sovereignity and explains why Ukraine recently postponed local elections in Donbass. Kenya has had to postpone elections in different regions in the past because just like Ukraine, when independence of a country’s internal processes is doubtful, then automatically your authority is undermined; a scenario that negates what Kenyan mashujaa fought for.