Remembering Adam Hussein Adam

Published: 7/Nov/2016
Source: CRAI Blog

By Achieng Akena

These lives we lead, these struggles we fight – they are not without a cost that is very personal to each of us. A cost to our health, our relationships… and sometimes we pay the ultimate price, with our lives.

We have lost many activists to the vagaries of this struggle. I am here to talk about one, the late Adam Hussein Adam whom we lost suddenly on 5 August 2016.

Adam was born Nubian, in Kenya. And that came with many obstacles that he committed his life to, not just overcoming his own circumstance, but also the situation of other stateless persons in Kenya.

Adam used to recall to us the rude awakening he had that he was not after all Kenyan, when he could not travel because he could not obtain a passport to represent Kenya on our national rugby team for which he played.

As the child of a single mother myself and with many single mother friends, Adam’s work resonated profoundly with me. He was there at the beginning of the work that culminated in this Protocol speaking out, litigating, advocating, counselling, contributing, participating and basically just showing up to be counted.

He always seemed larger than life to me for his courage in standing up to a system that was so pervasive that even a new constitutional dispensation in Kenya has not been able to dismantle it.

But he was Adam, he was just Adam. With a firm handshake, and a booming laugh. A friend to all, big and small, and with a comforting hug and an uplifting word. If he was here now I can imagine that he would say that his death should be our impetus to ensure that no person on this continent is forced to live his life without a nationality. That the laws he contributed to in Kenya on citizenship, and the advocacy he did towards the Protocol that we see coming to fruition, have true meaning to the lives of every African person.

Long live Adam.

This blog was originally prepared as remarks for a commemorative session in honour of Adam Hussein Adam at the ACHPR in Banjul, the Gambia in October, 2016. 
Themes: Apatridie
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2016