The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Explain Reasons for Jamhuri Day Awards

editorial

THE honours list for Jamhuri Day has just been gazetted. Over half of those recognised by President Kibaki are policemen and soldiers, probably deservedly after the Somalia operation.

Others include ministers Eugene Wamalwa and Githu Muigai who receive the Order of Golden Heart second class although they are relatively new in the job.

Judy Kibaki and Jimmy Kibaki receive the Order of the Burning Spear first and second class respectively. Controversial former CMC chairman Peter Muthoka, new government spokesman Muthui Kariuki, and the acting NSSF boss Tom Odong get the OBS 2nd Class

Safaricom boss Bob Collymore gets the OBS 3rd class. Certain candidates like Prof Yashpal Ghai, the intellectual inspiration of the new constitution, or Simon Richard, founder of Mt Kenya university, obviously deserve national recognition.

But it is not clear why many others received their awards. Top civil servants and politicians should normally be decorated when they are close to retirement, not when they are newly appointed.

In future it would be good if the gazette notice included a short reason for the award: 'for services during Operation Linda Nchi' or 'for his contribution to the new constitution'. That would allay any suspicions of favouritism in the annual honours list.

Quote of the day: "Hark the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the new-born king.'" - Methodist founder and hymn writer Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707

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