JANUARY 22, 2016
To the families of those who have been lost and wounded and to the people of Kenya.
I stand here as a parent, a husband and a citizen of Kenya.
We are very proud to join all of you who have endured so much and the international community that we know shares in our pain and our endurance.
As a country, we refuse to cry. We are here to celebrate the heroism of our soldiers. We want you to believe with us in these three words...We Shall Overcome.
A number of you are here in deep grief. A number of you are unsure of the fate of loved ones who were caught in this grim sin that happened to our soldiers in Somalia.
Our nation joins with you in this grief. We mourn with you but we celebrate and honour our lost or wounded heroes.
We share your hope against hope that some of our heroes may still survive.
We celebrate, we honour and we thank all those who continue to work to save lives, to bring our heroes home and to get to the bottom of this deadly sin.
We stand together in demanding that those behind this deadly sin be brought to account. We have the faith that this, shall come to pass.
To the families who have suffered loss, much as we share your grief, we know you are in pain that we can only imagine and which we cannot undo.
Some things are best left to God. God still hates injustice. God still hates the taking away of innocent lives. God stands on your side. And so does our nation.
We have an appeal to these affected families and to all Kenyans. Yes we have every right to be angry.
But we must not allow ourselves to be consumed by anger. Yes we are hurt. But let's not turn it into hate.
Instead, let us search for justice. Let us trust that our country will do everything possible to ensure that justice prevails.
We have lost so, so much. But let this not paralyse us. Let us use this loss as a reason to continue to do what our fallen heroes left unfinished. This is the best way to ensure they did not die in vain.
We may not agree on how best to fight Al Shabaab and secure our land. But we are in agreement that the terror groups are bad for Kenya, they are bad for Somalia, and they are bad for the whole world.
Al Shabaab must be stopped. And when they try to stop us violently as they have, we must stand together and take the battle to them.
We must stand up in unison for our common peace, our freedom and our way of life.
As a tribute to our soldiers, let us teach our children that we must not succumb to the forces of fear.
As a tribute to our heroes, let us stand up against blind hatred. Let us stand up against violence. Let us stand up and protect the right to life. Let us overcome evil with good.
What befell us this last week has never happened before. But we shall not cry.
Let each of us, wherever we are, go out and plant a tree, just one tree, to celebrate all our heroes killed or wounded in this deadly sin.
The tree will take a long time to grow, just like our wounds will take a long time to heal. But we must begin. Some day, we must heal. Some day, we must overcome.
But we must never forget. Those who fell victim this past week occupy a special place in our minds and our nation.
The fire they withstood, the fire they returned, the lives they lost and the wounds they endured on that dawn to keep us safe remain unparalleled in our history. It must remain in our history today and forever.
And so we join to confirm to our military and their families that yes, we owe you a debt. We are not sure we shall ever fully pay that debt, but we shall forever keep trying.
Most importantly, Kenya shall remember. May God give you the strength to endure this pain and live with this loss. We stand wounded. But we stand together. And together, we shall overcome. Thank you.
THE RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA, EGH.