One sunny morning in Nairobi, as hustlers haggled with clients, memes provoked office chatter and graffiti laden matatus provided the soundtrack for the day, Kenya’s resilience faced one of its toughest tests.
The unity that binds us and love for our countrymen stood out amidst the sound of gunshots at 14 Riverside Drive. Our beloved Country had to dig deep and find the strength, which traces back to our pre independence struggle embodied by the mighty Mekatilili wa Menza to overcome the cowardly act of terror.
Mekatilili wa Menza the woman warrior raised African consciousness and resilience she displayed on behalf of her Giriama community. Despite her brief appearance in the freedom struggle, her contribution to the fight against colonialism was immense. Mekatilili courageously fought against the forced conscription of African men into the British army during WW1. She canvassed the region and held barazas where she delivered passionate speeches and debates with young men.
Mekatilili’s courage is proof that Kenya is a country birthed from resilience. This is the glue, which has kept us united and seen us overcome multiple challenges leading to great achievements.
Al Qaeda struck in the twin 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. This attack resulted in the people rallying behind the #OneKenya spirit. Kenyans from all walks of life, race, religion and tribe came together to support those affected by the attack. The resilience built during the 1998 bombings was emboldened during the Westgate mall attack in 2013 and the most recent 14 Riverside attack in 2019. These attacks negatively effected Kenya’s businesses and tourism industry hence curtailing the growth of our economy as various countries issued travel advisories to its citizens.
Over the years Kenya has continued upholding the Mekatilili’s spirit by remaining unbowed by terror threats.
Despite the losses the Country remained unbowed and undefeated as Kenyans supported Kenyan businesses through promoting local tourism, which sustained the tourism sector during the travel advisory ban.
Over the years Kenya has continued upholding the Mekatilili’s spirit by remaining unbowed by terror threats. We lost brilliant, brave and talented Kenyans in the 14 Riverside attack. That pain will forever be etched in our memory.From our gallant security personnel to the brave medical responders and courageous ordinary Kenyans going above and beyond, we reminded ourselves and the world that Kenya is unbowed.
A year later, the Dusit hotel, just like the Phoenix rose up from the attacks and was relaunched in a beautiful ceremony led by the legend 800-meter World Record holder David Rudishia. The establishment stands strong and majestic, a daily reminder of the strength and bounce back attitude Kenyans have. We are stronger, united and determined to continue building a prosperous and safe Kenya guided by Mekatilili’s strength and courage.