In his speech during the State of the Nation address at parliament buildings on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta lauded the late teacher’s bravery act saying it signified the country’s greatest strengths of religious and cultural diversity.
“I want to pay special tribute to a Kenyan of Muslim faith, Salah Farah. He was shot and killed by terrorists near Mandera for shielding Christians from attack. He died defending people who he did not know” said the President.
“This is because he believed in their right to freedom of worship and he knew that every single life — irrespective of faith — is sacred. He is a powerful symbol of our country’s ambition to attain the full expression of secure and cohesive nationhood, and he is a costly reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting our freedoms” he added.
President Uhuru said Salah exemplified the best of “who we are as a country: a diverse people, united by our common love for liberty and peace, and above all our brothers’ keepers.
He added the late teacher’s actions epitomised the Nationalist Covenant Kenyans so desire to live by.
The president assured Salah’s family, children and the rest of the country that his sacrifice will never be forgotten, and will be long admired.
In recognition of his remarkable act of valour, the President posthumously awarded the late teacher Salah Farah, the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW).
OGW is a State Commendation of Kenya awarded by the President “in recognition of outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation in various capacities and responsibilities”.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow welcomed the President’s move to call the family of the deceased earlier in the day as well as the honor he conferred on him posthumously.
“I find it commendable that the government has finally recognised Salah for his gallant heroism. I met the president after his speech and lauded his effort, and requested him to have the government educate the children of the deceased” said Mr. Kerrow.
The Mandera Senator added President Uhuru agreed to the proposal and advised him to forward the details to him.
Salah was among a group of Muslim passengers who risked their lives on December 21, 2015 after resisting attempts by Al-shabaab militants to separate passengers traveling in a Mandera bound bus they attacked along religious lines.
A standoff ensued when he led fellow Muslim passengers to resist the move by the militants forcing them to flee for fear of backlash from the nearby settlements.
The late teacher sustained gunshot wounds in the attack and was transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital where succumbed to the injuries on January 17, 2016. He was later buried in Mandera.