President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged Kenyans to be everyday heroes in all they do as the country is on a journey that need them all.
In his address during the 10th Mashujaa Day fete at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa County, he emphasised the need for a positive mindset for a better tomorrow.
“Kenya is at a pivotal stage in her progress. The actions and decisions each Kenyan makes in the present day will determine whether our nation will achieve the Kenyan dream as articulated under Kenya Vision 2030 that presently focuses on the Big Four Agenda," he said.
The President said Mashujaa Day is a day to collectively honour all those who participated in the struggle for independence as well as those who positively contributed towards development of post-independence Kenya.
He reminded Kenyans that civic duty is heroism for everyone.
“Be a hero in all that you do, in every waking moment, in every action and in every word”.
The President acknowledged that there is a hero in every Kenyan and that is proven continuously by their achievements on the international stage.
“In each of us lies the seeds of greatness, of heroism. Every Kenyan should plant that seed in the fertile soils of integrity, water it with hard work and commitment to duty, grow it only in the direction of the light of truth and justice, and reap from the tree only those fruits that have been borne from our rightful efforts,” he said.
The Head of State said Kenyans should continue celebrating their diversity because it has been a source of strength for the nation.
“As a nation of mashujaa and in keeping with the teaching of St Francis of Assisi, let each one of us commit to being an instrument of peace, to sow love amidst hatred, to give hope where there is despair, to banish the darkness of our world with the light of our good words and actions,” said the President.
He affirmed the Government’s commitment to greater fidelity to principles, values and aspirations that informed the struggle for independence and the development that followed.
“We commit to providing each and every Kenyan with an enabling environment to be all that they can be, and to bring out the Shujaa in each and every Kenyan."
During the celebrations, President Kenyatta awarded world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge with the Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) medal for becoming the first person ever to run the 42 kilometres in less than two hours.
The President said Kipchoge proved to the world that no human effort is futile and that any goal can be achieved.
“Eliud Kipchoge remains the greatest of our time. Our duty is to emulate this enviable level of discipline and determination in our pursuit for a better Kenya for all. His latest conquest will be a constant reminder that we can achieve the very best, as individuals, and as a Nation,” said the President.
The President also congratulated Brigid Kosgei, who broke the world marathon record for women a few days after Kipchoge's race.
“Kenya today is the global custodian of both the men and women's world marathon record titles,” he said.
He added that the Kenyan story continues to be one of greatness, heroism and overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges through unwavering commitment and an indomitable spirit.
The President applauded Kenyans in different professions, including athletes, journalists, magistrates, fire-fighters, investigators, actors, musicians, teachers, doctors and nurses, for their contributions to the country’s wellbeing.
He reminded the public that charity begins at home and said every patriot should start his acts of heroism at family level.
“Most importantly, a shujaa understands that the family is the basic and fundamental unit of the Kenyan society and that acts of heroism begin at home, by being a role model and effective father, mother, son, daughter or guardian."
He said heroism continues to guide Kenya and that is the reason that led to the historic ‘handshake’ to bridge political divides. The 'hadnshake' refers to the peace , unity and national development agreement that the President and Orange Democratic Movement leader announced in May 2018.
The President also praised Coast residents for their role in the country's development and noted that his administration had invested heavily in the region's development.
Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya has undergone huge transformations under President Kenyatta’s administration.
“For seven years, we have seen tremendous investment in infrastructure, built the Standard Gauge Railway, roads and connected millions to electricity," the DP said.
"You are a hero as well because you have led this great transformation of our country,” he told Mr Kenyatta.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali John also spoke at the function.
As part of the celebrations, the Kenya Navy, the Kenya Coast Guard and the Kenya Air Force staged spectacular drills at the Likoni crossing, which the Mama Ngina Drive overlooks.