The fanfare during the Mashujaa Celebrations at the Mama Ngina Water Front in Mombasa was a good attempt at making up for the silent return of sporting heroes; Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei. Their individual record-breaking moments in Vienna and Chicago respectively gave Kenya a moment to be proud of, one that will linger for a while.
The highlight of these annual celebrations must have been the moment that President Uhuru Kenyatta presented Eliud with the Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) medal. There was a countrywide consensus that Eliud was deserving of the award as he has continuously displayed true heroism and patriotism through his many achievements. Perhaps unbeknownst to him, he has singlehandedly reignited a sense of hope and optimism among the youth especially, to pursue their dreams without tiring.
The award was also a departure from the last two years’ which were characterized by public complaints and controversy, brought about by the credibility of those to whom the honours were conferred. Instead, thought and process seems to have been given to this year’s awards, with deliberate efforts to only recognize those deemed deserved of the awards. This was in line with the guidelines in the National Honours Act 2013. Section 4 of the Act defines the “persons on whom national honours to be conferred”.
A person shall merit the conferment of a national honour if the person is – (a) a person who exhibited or exhibits exemplary qualities, actions or achievements of heroism, sacrifice, bravery, patriotism or leadership for the defence, benefit or betterment of the country or a county; (b) a person who has made an exemplary contribution to the country or a county in the economic, social, scientific, academic, public administration, governance, sports, journalism, business, security or other fields;” it says.