Head of State commendations bring dishonor to those who rightfully deserved them

President Uhuru Kenyatta awards The Head of State Commendation (HSC) to journalist John Victor Muyakane at State House Gardens, Nairobi. [Photo: Courtesy]

The sham that was this year’s Head of State commendations brings dishonour not just to those honoured, but also to those who rightfully deserved them. Were they to turn them down, State House would be left mired in shame.

The President should act fast to restore the esteem the honours bestow to distinguished Kenyans who have made our country proud in various disciplines.

And they are many of them; from academy, medicine, the arts, sports and athletics, philanthropy, engineering and innovation… the list is endless.

So we will understand the fury from many Kenyans from what looks like a mockery of the honours when the President bestows the awards to people who did not deserve them.

The Jamhuri day awards that are seen to have been unfairly influenced only work to undermine the unity and legacy that President Uhuru Kenyatta is keen to bequeath Kenya when he leaves office in five years’ time.

When the citizens believe that proximity to power affords one State commendation, we propagate the feeling of exclusivity.

It is such little things that contribute to the lethargy that occasioned the low attendance at Kasarani stadium and in many other venues across the country where the celebrations were held.

Only last year, doctors worked round the clock to successfully separate conjoined twins.

This was a feat that has not been achieved before on the African continent. Kenyan athletes continue to receive accolades internationally as they strive to make sure the name of Kenya is etched firmly on the world of athletics.

There are living legends who did Kenya proud and genuine war veterans consigned to misery and abject poverty who should have received State commendation, but were bypassed by a bureaucratic system that rewards proximity to power at the expense of service to the country and humanity.

This newspaper deplores our politics for promoting this vice. And so to preserve the meaning and to show that he observes merit and to show that he cares for his legacy, President Uhuru Kenyatta should cancel the awards and punish those who bungled what could go down as the biggest farce in the awards history.