Day 2: A call to recognize past freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for social justice Print E-mail
Monday January 22 2007

Forum wants heroes to be recognised

By NICK THIONGO


World freedom fighters from right, Kenya’s Marshall Muthoni, Gitu Kahengeri and Brazil’s Matilde Riberto follow proceedings at the ongoing World Social Forum at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani

DELEGATES attending the World Social Forum yesterday put their difference aside and called for the recognition of freedom fighters around the world who had died in the quest for social justice.

At a workshop titled ‘memory of struggles and contemporary,’ delegates from South America, Europe, the Middle East and the African region said past struggles were an inspiration to the present generation to seek ‘an alternative world.’

Former Butere MP Martin Shikuku who spoke during the occasion held at the Moi International Sports Centre said neo-colonialism had stifled the pursuit of true freedom in Africa.

Shikuku said Mau Mau Freedom fighters in Kenya needs to be recognised, adding that homeguards who abetted colonial atrocities were the ones now benefiting at the expense of those who struggled.

He said Kenyan freedom fighters had been given a raw deal and decried the present social disparity between the rich and poor in the country.

Field Marshal Muthoni, said the Word Social Forum had given the Mau Mau Freedom Movement Veterans the first ever opportunity to air their grievances on a global arena, saying: “We have been masked and muffled for too long.”

He censured the Kenyan political leadership, saying they had balkanised the country along tribal lines.

The workshop is expected to cover many successive and simultaneous struggles that have been waged by popular forces across the globe, ranging from anti-imperial, anti-colonial and other poorly documented social struggles.

It will also seeks to trace documents and establish historical relationships and linkages between peoples’ struggles around the world.

Miriam Morales, a Cuban delegate said the Mau Mau movement had been a great inspiration to the Cuban people and equated its leaders to the Bolivian revolutionary fighter Che Guevara, who is greatly acclaimed for his role in the Cuban revolution.

Rev Timothy Njoya said Kenya had not achieved its full independence because it was still operating with an archaic constitution crafted by its British colonisers.

Njoya said the British had justified their genocide on Africans by branding them as uncivilised, barbaric and terrorists, adding it was a waste of time to fight for human rights without dealing with the root cause of violations, which he blamed on capitalism.

Decrying exploitative trade relations between developed nations and Africa, Njoya said history had proved that free-trade was a one-way track and free flow of capital from the poor to rich.

He said neo-liberal free trade had been designed to ensure that multinationals siphon capital from the peripheries to the centre and installed secure mechanisms that would ensure that the reverse does not take place.