Full text of speech made by Hon. Sakaja Johnson, Nominated MP, Aspiring Governor and Chairman The National Party, during the TNA Special National Delegates Convention held on September 8, 2016 at Kasarani Indoor Arena.
“Honorable delegates, today I have the bittersweet privilege to address you all for the last time as your national chairman.
Almost five years ago, I stood before you all, before the entire nation at a similar gathering on the 20th of May 2012, under the symbolic gazing eye of our founding father Jomo Kenyatta at the KICC. On that day, the hopes of a nation were revived as we launched one of the greatest party that this country has ever seen; TNA – The National Alliance.
It was a day filled with pomp and pageantry, style and colour as Kenyans from all walks of life, Kenyans from all faiths, came together to affirm their belief in the promise of a better tomorrow.
We believed that against all odds our country needed to move beyond the poison of past politics to the promise of the path to prosperity. From the excruciating emptiness of ethnicity to the triumph of true togetherness. We believed that together we could rise again and usher in a new era in our country.
And the journey began, We traversed the country, Ndhiwa in Homabay to Wamagana in Tetu, from Lokwar Nakuse in Turkana to Isebania in Kuria, we sold our dream.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you who believed in this dream. I’d like to specially recognize some of our fallen comrades who believed and dreamt with us – The Late Hon. Muchai of Kabete, The late Hon. Jose of Gatundu, The late Hon. Kamakia of Ngobit Ward and The Late Hon. George Nyoike of Oloolua, who fell by the wayside. I pray that they are smiling down on us from heaven proud that we still believe.
Many of you will remember our first by elections in Kangema and Kajiado, when we first tasted victory, and the entire country took note of the new kid in the block. I am personally grateful that you stood by our President Uhuru Kenyatta and that you stood by me as your National Chairman. When many doubted that such a young man, then at 27 could lead a party anywhere, you believed. I was motivated by the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, that ………… I was guided by the words of Max De Pree when he said “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, the last is to say thank you, in between the leader is a servant.” Today I say thank you and that I’m eternally grateful for the honor to lead. You owned this dream even before we unveiled it to the world; you believed.
When the sceptics said that certain communities can not lead this country, we believed that Kenyans were looking at the content of the character of their next president and not the structure of his DNA or ethnicity. We believed.
When our detractors told us to keep our prayers within the privacy of our bedrooms and not in prayer rallies and meetings – we believed in the power of the Almighty and we responded with resounding chants of “sio uchawi ni maombi”. We believed.
When the world called us suspects and told us choices have consequences, we believed in the beauty of our dreams and the greatness of our country Kenya. When they said that we would be a pariah state by electing Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto little did they know that Barack Obama and His holiness the Pope would soon be trooping to this great land; reaffirming the belief that Kenyans had in their leadership and signaling that they too believed. We believed.
My fellow delegates , you believed. That Even at the darkest moments, when even our candidate was encumbered by naysayers and prophets of doom; when the rain of skeptism and the storm of disbelief threatened to extinguish the embers of our hopes and led him to temporarily seek to defer his dream YOU gathered at the Multimedia University and reminded him that you believe. We believed.
It became a journey of pain and joy, sweat and tears – you mobilized your families, your neighbors, your friends and foes alike around a movement that you believed in; we run the greatest campaign this country has ever seen. Not fueled by money, glitz or glamour but fueled by your hope and faith. You made sacrifices for which we are forever indebted; you moved beyond your comfort zone. We won because you believed.
Our victory signaled a new era for this country. We reignited the hopes of a new generation of Kenyans; and reincarnated the spirit of our founding fathers. We reminded the youth of our country, the trustees of Kenya’s posterity that they too can lead. That they needed to be defined by more than just an over quoted statistic but by success and opportunities. We lived true to our promise that we would not be a party that only sought those with millions of shillings in their accounts but those with millions of ideas in their minds. This is why we were able to get the highest number of young Kenyans elected into office. This is why we were able to get more than half of all the women elected as members of parliament in single member constituencies. From Esther Gathogo, to Cecily Mbarire, from the indomitable Naomi Shabaan to the first ever elected Maasai Woman Peris Tobiko – our Mama Simba Esther Murugis and the famous Alices – wahome and Ngang’a. We did it because you believed.
And today, we stand here together; to make history, to usher our country’s politics to the next level and to reaffirm that we still believe.
We still believe that we can continue on the path of prosperity and transformation even as we unite our people. That the beauty of our country lies in the diversity of its citizens. That no matter where we are from, no matter what we do, we still believe that every Kenyan wants the same thing – to go about their lives peacefully, to make something out of themselves and to guarantee their children a future.
WE still believe that power must remain in the hands of the people, and that we shall not be bystanders in our own story.
My fellow delegates, this dream has never changed.”
The dream that began over 50 years ago when Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, my role model Thomas Joseph Mboya, among others, united against all odds to fight a colonial power and to deliver this country from the shackles of imperialism. It was their unity that birthed this great nation. They believed.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the second generation of a free kenya came together to fight against single party rule, and against all odds they ushered in a new era of multi party democracy. It is their unity that delivered their victory. The believed.
Even now as we consider the role that our generation must play, we realize that the dreams of the Muites and the Matibas, the dreams of those who fought for Multi Party Democracy were not to drive us into tribal cocoons in the name of multiple Political parties but to give us freedom to choose our leaders and to express our political convictions in a manner that unites rather than divides.
Their fight was never about driving us into a Luo party or a Kamba party, a kikuyu movement or a Luhya alliance, their dream was to usher us into political parties where a Maasai in Kilgoris and a Somali in Habaswein will find similar expression; into parties where a Giriama and a Turkana will focus on the issues that unite them rather than those that divide them. That Kenyans from different communites would be proud members of the same party not because of their tribal kingpins but because of their common issues. And that they would be free to express themselves within those parties without undue discrimination.
WE still believe that this should be the case today. WE believe so because we have seen a beautiful reality. That the hopes of the Kikuyu are not at all opposed to the dreams of the Luo; that the aspirations of the Luhya, do not negate the wishes of the Meru; that the pain that Mama Chelangat in Bomet feels when she can not feed her daughter is the same pain that Mama kamau in kigumo feels when she can not feed her son; that the same joy that Mama Jakoyo feels when her son passes his KCPE exam and gets placement in Lenana school is the same jubilation that Mama Duale feels when he also passes his exam in Garissa and joins Lenana; and that our politics should not seek to divide Jakoyo and Duale when they become best of friends in school yet they have spent time sharing experiences and expressing their dreams; we can not allow a type of politics that seeks to divide. This is why we are here today.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is for this reason that we have purposed to move together into a party that gives life to our beliefs. Because we still believe. We have purposed to join other parties who also believe that for Kenya to move forward, for unity to be our marching anthem, we must come together. That the party of believers, the party of kusema na kutenda, will enter the mbus, new ford kenya, united democratic forum, tip tip, pnu, ford people, grand national union together with other partners and move into Jubilee Party. That we will put aside our personal political ambitions and agree to serve this country and coming generations.
For there is no higher calling. That the clarion call of Tuko Pamoja in Mombasa can be responded to by Khulialala in Bungoma, That twehamwe in Nyandarua can be echoed by Kititenebo in Narok, That Waislajirna in Mandera can cause Wankanyakla in Kondele and that that Wankanyakla in Kondele can bring about a resounding Kimi Kibagenge in Kericho and pamoja mzeiya in Dandora in Nairobi. Marshalling all Kenyans to join hands in one accord – Tuko Pamoja. That we will create a lasting legacy of a truly democratic party where nominations are free and fair and where every member has an equal opportunity to exist, vie and lead.
Finally, even as the curtains come down on The National Alliance a party that was driven by people who’s philosophy rang true to the words of Margaret Mead when she said ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever had’ let it be known, let it be remembered, let it be written and let it go down in history that a great party The National Alliance Existed; and that this great party paved the way for an even greater party Jubilee.
We still believe that our faith is unshakeable, we still believe that our march is unstoppable, and we still believe that our victory is inevitable.
God bless you, God bless Jubilee and God bless the Great Republic of Kenya