By JOE KIARIE
The team likely to spearhead the selection of national heroes will have its work cut out if it is to come up with a comprehensive and nationally acceptable final list.
Concerns have already emerged, with some perceived heroes expressing fears that a corrupt process might see them locked out in favour of underserving individuals.
The process will also be complicated by the fact that the final list will have to include both historical as well as modern day heroes drawn from across all spheres.
But the Heroes Bill 2013 proposes a thorough and inclusive process to be driven by the masses.
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It recommends that a 13-member National Heroes Council be set up and handed the responsibility of identifying and recommending heroes.
According to the Bill, the council will, through notices in the media, periodically call for proposals for nomination of persons suitable to be recommended for declaration as heroes. The nomination will be made by members of the public and private institutions, among others.
Names of those nominated will then be referred to a committee of the council responsible for vetting before being forwarded to the full council. Upon receipt of the names, the council will apply a set criterion to determine whether the proposed nominees qualify for designation as heroes under the Act.
It shall then publish the names of persons proposed to be declared heroes in at least two national newspapers and invite objections from members of the public who deem the proposed honour as not deserved. Details to be included in the adverts include a brief summary of the achievements for which such declaration is proposed to be made.
The council shall then consider all objections received and eventually prepare a final list to be forwarded to the president for declaration.
“The names of all persons declared as heroes shall be notified by the president by notice in the (Kenya) Gazette,” the Bill reads in part.
The approved heroes will then be officially invested with the honour by the president during Mashujaa Day, which is celebrated on October 20 of every year.
Recognised heroes who will be involved in misconduct will be censured, or have all the privileges withdrawn and their names removed from the Heroes’ Register.
Cases of misconduct will include conviction by a court and imprisonment by a court of law or involvement in conduct that the council deems unbecoming of a person declared to be a hero.