President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to preserve the country’s heritage, history and culture. The President spoke when he launched Miss Uhuru: Working for Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, an autobiography written by Mrs Elizabeth Madoka, a long-serving public servant.
The author of the book won the first beauty pageant after independence, and then worked for Presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi.
In his speech at the Kenya Literature Bureau, President Kenyatta said the book preserved the lessons of the past, and transmitted the wisdom of Kenya’s elders. “We must preserve these vital memories, and I am glad that she has chosen to do so,” said the President.
He commended Mrs Madoka for her selfless service to the nation since Kenya’s independence, saying her life story sets an example worthy of emulation. “She served her nation honourably, and she maintained high standards of order, diligence, and patriotism,” said the President. Adding: “Kenyans need to be reminded of stories like hers, so that we remember, always, what we can achieve.”
The President recalled his childhood days, saying Mrs. Madoka was a gentle person who cared for him and his siblings well. “She loved and cared for me, and for my siblings … and she reminds me that I was a curious child, and that she did her best to answer my questions,” said the President.
The President also commended the Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) for the progress it has made since its inception in 1947.
He praised the publisher, saying that it remained the foundation of Kenya as a reading nation. “In recent years, the Bureau has worked hard to promote local authors,” said the President. He commended the publisher for preserving Kenya’s heritage, history, and cultures, by publishing books in vernacular languages.
“I am very pleased to see the Bureau’s contribution to the full development of Kenya’s creative ability, and I want to assure you that my Government will give its full support to your important work,” he said.
The President also challenged Governors to use printing press which are available at the Kenya Literature Bureau, instead of trying to put up new ones which will be underused.
He said there was no need to duplicate work, and urged the governors to devote their funds to building infrastructure and health facilities to improve the livelihoods of Kenyans.
Cabinet Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said Kenyans should emulate Mrs. Madoka. “In one of our communities in Western Kenya, there is a famous saying and it is this ‘bury my bones but keep my words’.”
He said Kenya’s posterity could only learn of the nation’s history and formulate better policies by reading what had been recorded in writing by their elders. Mrs Madoka said she was inspired to write the book as she felt some memorable historical events were bound to be forgotten with time.
Other speakers included the Kenya Literature Bureau Chief Executive Eve Obara. Also present were Cabinet Secretary for Defence Raychelle Omamo, and Leader of the Majority in Parliament, Adan Duale, among other senior government officials. (PSCU)