Bado mapambano – why the battle should not sleep with K’Ajwang’
|Gerald Otieno K’Ajwang’ died on Monday night aged 53|
“Vijana msilale, lale lale, vijana msilale bado mapambano mapambano mapambano. Bado mapambano.”
Gerald Otieno K’Ajwang (may his soul Rest In Peace) would not start speaking in a public rally without singing that song which was derived from a once popular christian tune that talked about the battle that the faithful have to fight.
K’Ajwang fought a political battle, and he took every opportunity to remind Kenyan men, women and youth that they must not get tired of fighting this battle that he was convinced must be fought. He asked us not to sleep until the battle is won.
Today as I write these words, the young and courageous lawyer and politician is a sleep in death, but for those of us who are still here we must not sleep and lose focus of the battle ahead of us.
The battle on poverty
As K’Ajwang’ fought the political battle, his wish was that it would end in situation where no Kenyan would not be able to access basic services because they are poor.
This is a battle we must keep fighting. We must ensure that we push our governments (at the national and devolved levels) in ensuring that they create enabling environments for businesses to thrive so that we can have employment opportunities for our youths and end the vicious cycle of poverty.
We have to ensure that we consciously invest in best agricultural practices that will ensure that we do not just have enough to feed our population but even surplus to sell to the rest of the world. We must fight this battle until a time when food insecurity will be a thing of the past.
The battle on illiteracy
A recent survey by Uwezo Kenya – an NGO that reviews literacy levels among school going children in East Africa indicated that School going children in Kenya lack basic literacy and numerical skills. Our children are not learning even with the free primary education that we have been enjoying for a decade now.
When our children are not learning, they cannot effectively compete for the limited further education and employment opportunities with children from rich families who can afford to take their children to private schools with higher quality education standards.
The battle that K’Ajwang left us is ensuring that we do not continue to have this disparity among these groups of our population.
We should not sleep until that time when we transform the quantity of education that we have into quality education that will take our population away from extreme poverty.
The battle against diseases
Today many Kenyans still die of preventable and treatable diseases. HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Cancer are still some of the biggest killers in Kenya today.
The biggest challenge in the fight against diseases is lack of facilities with adequate equipment necessary for diagnosis and treatment of some of these diseases that should not kill if diagnosed and managed at an early stage.
Today Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS are worried about the supply of anti-retroviral medication which might no longer be available free of charge in the coming two years as some of our major partners in this fight are pulling out.
The battle for increased democratic space
Fellow parliamentarians who eulogized K’Ajwang’ described him as a leader who “built no walls” around himself. He was loyal to the ideas he believed in and respected other people’s rights to hold contrary ideas and opinions.
Today the major challenge facing Kenya is appreciation of our diversity especially in opinions among our political parties, including ODM which the fallen leader was very loyal to.
This democratic space that is entrenched in the Supreme Law of this land was something Kenyans fought and shed blood for, but the recent development in our political spheres have shown that the battle is far from being won – bado mapambano!
This is why we have to continue fighting, and fight we must till we have a just, fair and a society that respects the rights and fundal freedoms of all.
Rest In Peace Gerald Otieno K’Ajwang’
Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde
A version of this article has been submitted for publication on online news portal hivisasa.com