Wangari Maathai is without question one of the most inspirational people of our time. She was the first woman in East Africa to earn a PhD. I am proud to say that she also received a Masters degree from my own alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1970s, 80's and 90's the supreme courage Wangari demonstrated through years of vilification and harassment by the Moi government is nothing short of amazing. She lead the fight against construction of a huge skyscraper in Uhuru Park, one of the few green spaces left in Nairobi. Later she would lead the fight against the grabbing of Karura Forest. Needless to say it was a proud day for Kenyans (and those of us who love that country) when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Dr. Maathai served as a member of Parliament and an Assistant Minister for Environment in the first Kibaki administration. Unfortunately her humanitarian and environmental influence on Kenya's civil society has never really impacted the Kenyan political establishment. If it had then perhaps the debacle that followed the rigged 2007 Presidential election might have been avoided. If only the likes of Wangari Maathai could have led the country! Mungu Abariki Mama Mti na watu wote wa Kenya!
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