Said Wabera: Son who exemplified father’s will power and fortitude

An apple they say, never falls far away from the apple tree and when one is weaned on ethos of patriotism and lives through the chaos brought about by a genuine quest for peace, it’s difficult to turn the other cheek to a bully.

This is what China Xinhua Agency found out when it tried to sack an uncompromising Kenyan editor six years ago.

The journalist, Said Wabera, had refused to sign a contract with the media organisation which had been scripted in Chinese and was meant to deny him some benefits. He went to court protesting his sacking and the injustice of being coerced to append his signature to a document written in a language he could not understand.

The man was living up to the spirit and the principles of his father, a pioneer District Commissioner in Isiolo who watered the tree of freedom to liberate his motherland from oppressive foreign forces with his own blood.

The father, David Wabaso, was a man of strong convictions who converted from Christian to Islam to become Daudi and later opted to serve the Jomo Kenyatta administration in 1962 at a time the entire region was anti-government. Going against the grain was considered suicidal.

On January 15, 1963, Jomo Kenyatta, who was the prime minister, posted Daudi Dabasso Wabera as the District Commissioner of Isiolo to try and win the hearts of the residents who were agitating to secede to Somalia.

It was while he was executing his mandate of holding public meeting to convince the locals to work with the government that he was gunned down in June 1963. The assassin is believed to have been dispatched by the Somali government in Mogadishu.

Although he was immortalised by the government which named Wabera street in Nairobi after him, some of the problems he died trying to solve still exist. Northern Frontier District became part of Kenya.

In his son, Said Wabera, the spirit of struggle for freedom and self-determination lived on. As a journalist, the son highlighted the problems afflicting the country and his people.

He spent his last days fighting off conservancies which were exploiting local natural resources without any consideration for the locals. He was a fighter to the end for he battled ulcers up to the bitter end on August 22, 2021 when he succumbed.

Wabera’s name will for a long time live in the people’s hearts as it will evoke memories of a fighter who stood for what they believe. True patriots are made of this.

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