Kenyans mourn Salim Ahmed Bamahriz

Image result for bamahrizAhmed Bamahriz, one of the the original champions of multi-party democracy in Kenya in the early 1990s, waves the two-finger salute which was popular with the proponents of the second liberation. Mr Bamahriz died on October 1, 2016 at AL Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, after a long illness. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

One of the champions of the struggle for multi-party democracy in the country Salim Ahmed Bamahriz passed away last Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.

Born in 1942, Bamahriz will be remembered for being one of the ardent champions of Kenya's second liberation and a strong agitator for the rights of coastal residents. For the last 10 years, the 74-year-old politician was living in Unted Arab Emirates where he had settled with his family.

He first ventured into leadership when he was elected the chairman of Changamwe Shopkeepers Association boss in 1969. He later contested the Changamwe parliamentary seat but lost to David Kioko. In 1979, Bamahriz was elected Miritini Councillor where he served until 1990.

When the quest for multi-party democracy gained pace in the early 1990s, Bamahriz joined opposition leaders Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba,Martin Shikuku, Masinde Muliro,Charles Rubia,James Orengo, Gitobu Imanyara and Paul Muite in the fight for multi-party democracy.

Together with the late Jaramogi, Martin Shikuku, Masinde Muliro (both deceased), Philip Gachoka and George Nthenge, they founded the original Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) to push for the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution that made Kenya a single party state. The party later split into Ford Kenya and Ford Asili in 1992.

For his relentless struggle, Bamahriz was detained severally by the government of former President Danile Moi for his campaign for democracy and freedom. Those who knew him, described him as a pragmatic, humorous and humble person and a courageous Kenyan who struggled to ensure that Kenyans enjoyed the ideals of human rights and social justice.

In his message of condolence, President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogized the veteran Mombasa politician as one of the crusaders for the second liberation who made personal sacrifices to entrench multi-party democracy in Kenya. The President described Bamahriz as a courageous, fearless, selfless and dedicated man who devoted the prime of his life to the service of the nation. “To everyone who knew and had the opportunity to interact with him, Bamahriz was a person of enormous influence and outstanding ability. His wise counsel and guidance will, indeed, be missed by many,” the head of state said.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Bamahriz dedicated his life to the struggle for freedom, equality, justice, human rights and democracy. “Bamahriz became a dedicated and fearless voice against the marginalization particularly of the Coast. He suffered for these convictions, being detained alongside fellow fighters in the struggle for the opening up of the political space," said Raila. He Raila noted that the passing of Bamahriz marks the departure of a brave, committed individual who lit a candle during the darkness of ruthless dictatorship.

 On his part, Mombasa Governor Hassan Gov’t told to end silence on police killings Joho said Bamahriz will be remembered for his selfless struggle alongside other great Kenyans to introduce multi-party order in the country, to fight for equity and social justice. "Mombasa mourns the death of one of its bravest sons, who was also one of the champions of the second liberation. May the Almighty Allah grant his family strength during this time,” said Joho.

 Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir described him as a champion for multi-party democracy and a crusader for human rights. "He will be remembered as one of the original champions of multi-party democracy in Kenya in the early 1990s," he said.

Muslim Consultative Council executive director Abdulrahman Wandati described Bamahriz as a Kenya’s heroic sons who were at the forefront in the struggle for human rights and freedom in the country. Wandati further added that Bamahriz will be remembered as a role model and mentor to many political leaders at the Coast region and entire country

Oct 7th, 2016 
The Friday Bulletin # 701

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