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Former Chief Justice, Dr. Mutunga, inspires youth to be courageous

“We celebrate the wrong people because we don’t know our true history. We only know what they wanted us to know. We need to know where we come from to better plan where we’re heading.” These were the sentiments made by the former Chief Justice of Kenya about the culture of heroism in the Kenyan context.

On the 19th and 20th October 2018, Team Courage organized an exhibition showcasing heroes in our society, and a lecture by Dr. Willy Mutunga. The two-day event was part of the organization’s goal to reach twenty-six Kenyan universities with a view to promoting, educating and, most importantly, celebrating our heroes and heroism. Team Courage identifies itself as a Kenyan organization using innovative and bold approaches to catalyze public interest and action to ensure public transparency and accountability, defeat the culture of impunity and the rampant abuse of human rights in Kenya.

The Strathmore community had the opportunity to view the exhibition which brought to life the stories of our heroes in an intricate and captivating manner; from well-known stories like that of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta to the lesser known heroes like Benard Kiriinya and Chelagat Mutai. Heroines who have played various roles in their capacities were also featured.

The highlight of the two-day event was the lecture by Dr. Mutunga. Dr. Willy Munyoki Mutunga is a Kenyan lawyer, intellectual, reform activist, and the Commonwealth Special Envoy to the Maldives. He is also an active member of the Justice Leadership Group. He is the immediate former Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. He was accompanied by Juliani, a Kenyan music artist who has become popular for his songs on public discourse.

Dr. Luis Franceschi, Strathmore Law School Dean, delivered the opening remarks and opened the floor for the lecture to begin. When asked why it is important to document the stories of our heroes, his response was clear and accurate, “Kenya is a young nation, in that many of our heroes are still alive and there is need to take advantage of this and tell their stories.” An interactive question and answer session ended the lecture with young people being urged to embrace their sense of patriotism and celebrate their heroes. One of the few things that stood out with the former CJ was his down-to-earth demeanor. He wore a pair of khaki pants and sneakers; he interacted with students often stopping to ask questions. When one student joked to him that he was in violation of the University’s dress code by pointing out his shoes, he replied by asking him to read article 27 of the constitution of Kenya (freedom against discrimination), on a rather light note. This was the man the young people in the room got to share and learn from. He ignited a spark indeed within the minds of the budding intellectuals present.

This article was written by Agage Benjamin.

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