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State to set up National Heroes Council

SPORTS By Gilbert Wandera | January 11th 2017
PS Ministry of Culture Joe Okudo when he visited Former Kenya International Football Player Joe Kadenge (left) at his residence at Mariakani Gardens, Nairobi, on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Good times beckon for suffering Kenyan heroes with the government working to operationalise the National Heroes Council.

This will happen in the next six weeks according to Joe Okudo, the Ministry of Sports’ Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary.

Okudo said talks are on-going with the treasury to allocate Sh300million seed money for the Council to kick-start their operations.

He said the council will operate like a parastatal whose mandate will be to take care of the heroes’ welfare.

“The act to set up a Heroes Council was passed last year and what remains is for us to operationalise it. In this regard, we are already doing something about it and the first step is to operationalise the council.

“We are negotiating with treasury to set aside Sh300million to act as seed money so that the Council can start working as soon as possible. The Council will be in charge of taking care of the welfare of the heroes from across all areas,” he said.

He also revealed that the government will set aside ten acres of land at Uhuru Gardens to build a monument for the heroes.

“The monument will help younger generations to remember our heroes even 50 years from today. We hope all this measures will inspire many other people to go out of their way in being patriotic citizens because now we have a structured way of recognising their contribution.”

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The Kenya Heroes Act 2014 establishes a 13-member National Heroes Council, which is to formulate criteria for the identification, selection and honouring of national heroes. The council is also empowered to provide for the categories of heroes.

Part IV of the Act reads: “The council may, from time to time, by notice published in print and electronic media, call for proposals for nomination of suitable persons to be recommended for declaration as heroes.”

But since the Act has not become operational almost three years since enactment, it has been left to individual effort of sportsmen and women to rescue their own.

The need to operationise the council has become even more urgent following the plight of Joe Kadenge who needed well-wishers to come to his rescue so that he can receive medical care.

A fundraiser held last Friday raised Sh1million towards his medical bills. The legend also received another Sh2million from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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