Raila Explains Why Mama Ngina is His Hero

  • Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta today received her 2019 Macky Sall Prize at State House on February 7, 2021, and ODM Leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20, 2020.
    Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta today received her 2019 Macky Sall Prize at State House on February 7, 2021, and ODM Leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20, 2020.
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    Raila Twitter
  • Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, celebrated women who played a crucial role in the liberation and development of Kenya.

    Speaking during the Mashujaa Day celebration on October 20, 2021, Raila stated that Kenya's former First Lady, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, played a crucial role during the struggle for independence and her efforts are not often spoken about.

    Raila noted that Mama Ngina did not just stay at home as the country was struggling to gain independence, but she was also detained as the White man looked to oppress Kenyans.

    According to a book by  Mukami Kimathi, wife of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi, titled Mükami Kimathi: Mau Mau Freedom Fighter, he too was subjected to harsh conditions of confinement at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.

    "In celebrating, our freedom fighters were true heroes who liberated our country from the might of the British army. Not many people know Mama Ngina Kenyatta was a political detainee. This region played a key role in fighting for liberation," Odinga stated.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii on October 20, 2020.
    ODM leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii on October 20, 2020.
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    "Ngina Kenyatta was assigned to take care of all the children of the prisoners working in the gangs. She had more than 50 children under her care. My son was one of them," narrated  Mukami.

    Kenyatta's wife had to feed and clean the children, bearing in mind the deplorable conditions of the prison. Mukami further disclosed that sometimes, they would go many days without food, forcing them to survive on soil mixed with water.  Besides starvation, the women prisoners were at times called to go and bury inmates who had been hanged.

    The ODM leader also recognized women leaders who have contributed to the development of Kenya. He acknowledged former Justice Minister and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.

    Odinga noted that Karua is a formidable woman who has stood for Kenya.

    He also recognized women governors who were elected to office for the first time in 2017. Raila named Governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) for their roles in moving their counties forward.

    At the same time, Odinga stated that former President Mwai Kibaki is his personal hero. He explained that he saw the good in Kibaki and chose to support him in 2002, despite the country being marred in tribal cocoons.

    Odinga added that many thought he would not regain his base if he openly supported Kibaki. Some advisors told him he was committing career destruction by supporting the retired President.

    "My hero is former President Mwai Kibaki and he must be celebrated as the hero he is in this country," Raila stated.

    "When I said Kibaki Tosha, people thought am finished politically, that no one can vote for a Kikuyu. 98 percent of Luos voted for Kibaki. Raila Odinga is a friend of the mountain," he added.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii on October 20, 2020.
    ODM leader Raila Odinga during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii on October 20, 2020.
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