Kenyans criticise list of those awarded, saying there were more deserving citizens

President Uhuru Kenyatta admires the WBC Super bantamweight title won by Kenyan boxer Fatuma Zarika at the Jamhuri Day Garden Party he hosted at State House, Nairobi. [Photo: Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday presented national awards and honours to 250 Kenyans described as having served the country with distinction.

The Head of State conferred the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart’ (EGH) on Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, and businessmen Peter Muthoka, John Peter Nyaberi Simba, Peter Kahara Munga, Titus Kirea, and Pamidimukkala Venkata Sambasiva Rao.

Other recipients of the national awards and honours included journalist Victor Muyakane, who saved a disabled man from bees, and Administration Police officer James Chege, who braved raging floods to escort Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination papers to school.

The two received the Head of State Commendation (HSC) civilian and military divisions awards, respectively. Pugilist Fatuma Zarika – who recently floored Zambia’s Catherine Phiri to defend her World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight title – also received the HSC civilian division award.

Kenyans, however, poked fun at some recipients of the order of the Moran of The Burning Spear (MBS) awards as it included some people deemed to be nondescript and whose contribution to national society could not easily be cited.

Some were Martin Kamotho, alias Githeriman, who became a sensation on August 8, when his picture, clutching a plastic bag with ‘githeri’ on the voting line, went viral.

Kenyans online had a field day as they analysed the 2017 list of the recipients of the HSC with disdain and mockery.

The list also featured names of controversial political bloggers, musicians and other State House directors, triggering public debate on the criteria used to recognise some of the people.

“Kenya’s Joyceline Jepkosgey broke six world records in six months in 2017. Not recognised on Jamhuri Day. Githeriman turned up to vote, nursing a splitting hangover, rewarded with Kenya’s highest civilian honour, HSC,” said Saddique Shaban, a sports journalist.