Sometimes it takes the selfless acts of defiance by courageous citizens to tilt the course of a nations history against the wishes and trends established by the mainstream political class. Example, Prof. Yash Pal Ghai. The good Prof is a Kenyan hero. When he was nominated to the Constitutional Review Commission to spearhead constitutional review, he refused to be sworn-in until there was a compromise on the issue of the then parallel Ufungamano Initiative, which the KANU establishment wanted to hear nothing about. This act alone defined a new direction for the constitutional review process that even his own benefactors could not have contemplated.
In a situation where the political class cannot agree, the actions of patriotic Kenyans that go beyond the usually childish and self-serving interests of politicians can change the course of history.
That is why I was disappointed when none of the nominees to the controversial Jubilee Mashujaa Day list declined their nomination on the basis of the very absurd and unfortunate fact that it omitted one of the undisputed independence heroes in Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. For me, it is not a question of whether Jaramogi should be on the list or not – only the fairly clueless and vain Jubilee leadership can make that a question or a debate. What matters to me is how any Kenyan who has half knowledge of our history can accept to be in a heroes list that does not include Jaramogi!
If politicians know that Kenyans of integrity will reject their decisions, even those that are beneficial to them personally, if such decisions fall short of the patriotic standard , then politicians would make better decisions. It is pointless to criticize Jubilee on this decision very distasteful decision. We have come to expect them to make some of the most thoughtless decisions especially if they find an opportunity to piss-off their equally thoughtless CORD competitors who are outside “wakimeza mate”. When a political class becomes this degenerate, it falls on the citizens to stand on principle and tell their politicians “No”. Just like Prof. Yash Pal Ghai did.
We cannot work with politicians to trample over the achievements of our early heroes like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in a hurry to become heroes ourselves. And as far as Kenyans are concerned, to do so is to dishonor their memory. That is why for me, the fact that none of the mashujaa day nominees refused honors in a list that omitted Jaramogi Oginga Odinga is a shame. A big shame.