The passing of The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu earlier today closes an important chapter in Africa’s long and painful struggle for justice, liberty and democracy and the Continent’s current efforts to create prosperity and stand find its competitive edge in the rest of the world. For South Africans, it is a major reckoning with the reality that one-by-one, its heroic liberators are leaving.
I pass deep condolences to his family and to the people of the Republic of South Africa on the death of this icon.
Tutu belongs to the generation of African leaders who confronted wrong whenever it happened and never tired of pursuing what is right for South Africans and human race as a whole.
He was in the category of African leaders who regarded fighting for freedom, justice, democracy and dignity particularly for the down trodden, as a calling, a duty and a lifelong mission.
He championed the Revolution Theology which meant using the pulpit to fight Apartheid regime.
His belief in Justice as a tool for reconciliation and reconstruction helped South Africa navigate calmly from the storms of apartheid to a free and inclusive country working to perfect its systems today.
Tutu’s powerful and principled leadership of his country’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has since become a model for many African nations that are trying to overcome their divided and unequal past.
Other than belief in justice, Tutu was a strong pan Africanist who practiced and championed Ubuntu – a belief that Africans are inherently one people wherever they are, that they have inherent dignity based on their cultures, and that the success of one African was success of the entire African people.
In this regard, he was among the first leaders to arrive in Kenya when post-election violence erupted here following the 2007 elections. His reason for coming was simple and complex at the same time. He said “ when a neighbour’s house is on fire, you don’t wait to be invited. You just fetch water and start putting out the fire.”
As a continent, we have lost a leader of rare qualities and abilities, an epitome of bravery and resistance. I will treasure the moments I had to exchange views on the future of our continent, a continent he did so much to lift in the eyes of the world.
THE RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA, EGH.
DECEMBER 26, 2021.