Kamotho Martin aka ‘Githeri Man’, Dennis Itumbi, Robert Alai and Jubilee blogger Pauline Njoroge are among 59 Kenyans set to receive Head of State Commendation during this year’s Jamuhuri Day celebrations.
Boxer Fatuma Zarika, the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery’s wife Hellen Nkaissery, singer Ben Githae, Journalists Jacqui Maribe and Victor Muyakane, who was pictured saving a disabled beggar outside the Supreme Court a few months ago, are also in the list.
Kenyans online have criticised the composition of the list, with some saying that the award has lost its meaning.
“Head of State Commendation has now become an honour for partisan political party bloggers and their girlfriends,” George Akuno Said.
“Whoever is selecting them would do with a wider pool. I mean not only political activists and bloggers are serving the interests of this great nation. I rest my case.”
Another Kenyan, Charles Wanyoro said: “Githeri man gets a Head of State Commendation. Apart from showing up to vote on August 8, just like millions others, what else did he do? Anyway, congratulations to him,”
On Twitter, @BensonAdero write; “#WeAreACorruptNationBecause it earns you OGW, Order of the Burning Spear, Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, Head of State’s Commendation et al”
Others said a few people in the list deserved the award for their service to Kenyans.
“Head of State Commendation has lost its value, its prestige. I can understand Robert Alai Onyango for what he has done in giving info and expanding freedom of speech on social media. Hao wengine walifanya nini? (What have the rest done)?” Morris Aron asked.
Other people in the list include ministers, academicians, athletes, businesspeople and artistes among others.
Apart from criticising the list, some online commentators felt deserving Kenyans were left out.
“There are several athletes, sportsmen and others who have branded Kenya in a very positive way yet they have not been recognised. A case of Tenda Wema Nenda Zako,” Joyce Obino said on Facebook.
“The Head of State Commendation can be given to any lackey for all I care. What any state should be grateful for are people who think in their political conscious without being told what, when, where and how to think. Kenya has very, very few of those,” @wambanijr said on Twitter.
The Head of State Commendation is one of the presidential awards usually given to outstanding Kenyans who selflessly render their services to the country.
Other awards include the Order of the Grand Warrior, Distinguished Conduct Order, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star of Kenya and the Uhodari Medal.
Recipients of these awards are selected by the National Honours and Awards Committee who work in the Office of the President.
They are guided by the National Honours Act, which stipulates that a person who exhibits exemplary qualities or achievements of heroism, patriotism or leadership, those who have made exemplary contribution to the country in terms of economic, scientific, security and business among other fields should be feted.