MY TRIBUTE TO KANGAW WILLIAM
By Ratteng Ã‰lias Odhiambo
All living things will die. Everyone here will die at Godâ€™s appointed day and time. William Omondi Kangawâ€™s day was 12th August 2015, that evening at Kababu shopping centre as he left the burial of his closest friend in Nyandema, Philip Ojunju (RIP). What deeper friendship could be more than this? One dying just after burying another!
I got to be friend with Philip through my friend Kangaw, and ended up living with Philip in my house while he job-hunted in Nairobi, though he fell ill only 2 weeks after his first job, an illness that would finally claim his life. That was the nature of my friendship with Kangaw; I became close friends to all his close friends and relatives.
Willy was a simple but equally complicated brilliant young boy. I had said everything about him during our fundraising at Gunga Secondary School in June, where through his coordination with friends within and abroad, we managed to raise over a million shillings to construct 2 teachers houses and a dormitory that all of you can see up that hill. I had said everything about Kangaw on that day, and to me it sounds it was a pre-monition of his death. Little did I know I would be saying the same things about him 3 months later, today,â€¦â€¦very very sad indeed.
On that day, I had said how, during the nearly 1 year of our friendship, I had know Kangaw as a selfless boy, who every time complained to me how his people are suffering, with Gunga secondary started way in 2004 is staggering and tottering towards collapse due to neglect by the constituency leadership. He had wished what I was doing in Akala Secondary school could be done by the Gunga community.
It was this simple discussion that gave birth to the Gunga fundraiser that is responsible for those 2 wonderful houses and that incomplete dormitory up that hill. I had not visited this home before Willyâ€™s demise, and when I came last Saturday to meet the familyâ€™s burial committee, I was stunned! How could a boy just 26 years of age, living in this kind of home we are in today, struggle to build a school while himself he is this needy?
It was expected of him to find how to make their home better and talk about his personal problems before thinking of how to engage in community projects! Now that is the cord that united me with this young man we are burying today: SELFLESSNESS, PREFERENCE FOR UNIVERSAL GOOD AT THE EXPENSE OF PERSONAL COMFORT AND PROVIDENCE.
Nyatike constituency will emerge and excel when we espouse this single mindset. As long as each of us is thinking only about self and own family, we will forever remain doomed.
After the dubious election of 2007, I had decided never to engage in Nyatike politics again. Kangaw caught up with me in 2014 and started pestering me to return to the arena. I had repeatedly turned him down, but he never relented. Little did I know he was already doing mobilization behind my back with like minded youths and opinion leaders in Nyatike and beyond.
He had romped in his cousin in USA, Philemon Ogada and his childhood friend Nimrod Nyawach among many others. Within a very short time, the y had formed THE NYATIKE REDEMPTIVE TEAM. His close friend in the ODM Change Movement, Lee Makwiny will attest to this. I had to give in finally, and I today want to declare, before this great gathering, and in front of his casket, that I will honor his demand, and stand for election as Nyatike MP in 2017. On his behalf, because am sure that is what he would have wanted to be said, I request the people of Nyatike to stand with me and THE REDEMPTIVE TEAM so that we usher in the Nyatike we will all be proud of, that Nyatike Willy aspired for.
Kangaw looked forward to a UNITED Nyatike, where all had equal chance to opportunities within our boundaries. This is what made him be friends with people from all over the constituency as evidenced by the various groups who contributed to his send-off. Our generationâ€™s major agenda after the coming elections will be to bury the divided Nyatike that came ahead of us, and bring to birth a UNIFIED NYATIKE, where Karungu, Kadem, Muhuru, Kaler, and everyone within our boundaries have equal access to the table of providence.
WE ARE TIRED OF CLAN POLITICS! WE ARE TIRED OF DIVISIVE POLITICS! WE ARE TIRED OF FAVORISTISM AND GROSS UNFAIRNESS AND NEGLECT! WE WILL KILL THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL IN 2017. THIS IS ONE THING WE MUST DO FOR OURSELF AND FOR OUR FALLEN HERO COMRADE KANGAW WILLIAM.
Standing here today reminds me of many moments and events we shared with our fallen hero. Two most recent ones come to mind immediately.
1. the night we travelled from the Gunga Secondary harambee when our vehicle ran out of fuel about 2 km from Ndhiwa town at around 10 pm. Kangaw, in the company of other team members in my vehicle, would walk on foot to collect the fuel, without anyone asking him to do so. We would later at midnight drop him in Kisii as we proceeded to Nairobi, and when we asked him about his safety, he would only tell meâ€¦.â€jatelo, the happiness I have in my heart after what we have done in Gunga today makes me very safe, and nothing will happen to meâ€â€¦â€¦.
2. Just last July, we went to raise funds for our friend Tom Obieroâ€™s 3 children in various colleges. Those who know where Obieroâ€™s home is located would wonder whether we actually went there. Now that is where we went with Willy and stayed up to midnight. Worse it rained and getting to Migori was a big problem, again I would leave him in Kisii as I proceeded to Nairobi deep in the night. That was the Kangaw I knew, always willing to sacrifice his time and life to give others a better life. That is the boy we are burying today. I only wish that spirit grows into the hearts of everyone attending his burial today.
To our beloved people of Kachieng ward, you have lost a gem. Kangaw living in your midst for a further ten years would have truly transformed this region. I just hope his lifestyle would inspire the youths and this generation and beyond to refocus their lenses to more socially rewarding engagements to avoid pettiness and selfishness. I believe in the rewards of an honest work and the power of unity and focused approach to societal problems, and promise to stand with any group and community who are out to achieve sustainable development, whether here in Gunga or elsewhere.
About 2 weeks before his death, I and Willy visited Gunga secondary to assess the projectâ€™s progress. We were happy with what we saw, though realized the dormitory was still far from completion. We were actually in the process of setting a date for supplementary fundraiser to complete the dormitory when the sad news of Willyâ€™s demise hit us.
In coordination with Philemon Ogada who is a prominent son of this region, we have agreed to return to Gunga Secondary school on Sunday 13th December 2015 to complete Kangawâ€™s dream for that great school. Philemon, away in Texas, USA, has sent me to request the Gunga community to allow us name the dormitory WILLIAM KANGAW HOUSE, which I fully support. Assuming this request is granted, I will proceed to request all friends of Kangaw to plan to join us on that day to ensure WILLIAM KANGAW HOUSE is ready for the students to use from January 2016. That would be the best gift you will give to our fallen hero and friend lying in front of us today. God be with his soul.
To the siblings of Willy who have greatly lost, we are with you, today and into the future. Do not get into deep worries. Worrying about death is like questioning God, which is a taboo and an abomination. We will not be able to bring back to life the brother you so loved, but we will do everything that he used to do for you, even more. We have here already some monies that will clear your secondary school fees, and will do everything to make this home stable and prosperous. Just like your brother did, aspire to be great people, for that is what will make this home a place to admire.
I thank everyone who came in handy to support this event; THE NYATIKE REDEMPTIVE TEAM, Nyatike Youth Development Association, Migori Friends Of Kangaw, Sori Secondary 2007 Alumni, UNBOUND KENYA, The ODM Change Movement, Karungu Welfare in Mombasa and Nairobi, and any team not mentioned here. It couldnâ€™t have been this marvelous without that small sacrifice. May god bless your generosity so that you help more in future.
Lastly, I would wish to send THE REDEMPTIVE TEAMâ€™S COMMANDER to his final resting place by borrowing some wisdom from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, â€œâ€¦..It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points at how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. Credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly â€¦â€¦who knows the great enthusiasm , the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst , if he fails , at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeatâ€â€¦â€¦â€¦
In my judgment, which I hope is the judgment of this mammoth crowd gathered here today, you will go down into the history of this great constituency as being among the heroes of his time, who sacrificed to make Nyatike a SOLIDLY UNITED AND PROSPEROUS land. Your sacrifices will never be in vain, for I am determined, together with our team, to make your dream a reality. This is my solemn pledge, and as we always said when we were togetherâ€¦..NO TURNING BACK. ALUTTA CONTINUA.
REST IN PEACE RABET, REST IN PEACE WUOD GUNGA, REST IN PEACE AWINDA OKEWGI OJODE SIRKAL, REST IN PEACE MY BELOVED FRIEND OMONDI KANGAW.