The Ministry of Sports has released the names of heroes and heroines honoured during Mashujaa Day celebrations.
In a stark departure from other years when politicians dominated the list, those nominated this year included common citizens who have put extraordinary efforts in trying to contribute to the betterment of the society placed under the ‘Special Category’.
According to the index published by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, a total of 148 heroes and heroines were honoured and awarded Certificates of Recognition at this year’s Mashujaa Day presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Index, which carries a citation (summary of achievements) of each honouree, comprises 20 sports personalities, 26 freedom fighters, 87 individuals nominated by counties and 10 people in the special category.
Principal Secretary of Arts and Culture Joe Okudo said the list of heroes and heroines should be seen as representative sample rather than an exhaustive and absolute representation.
“While it is not possible to name, parade and reward all our heroes the government is greatly appreciative of the collective contribution of so many silent heroes among us, formal recognition notwithstanding. Someone may be famous but this does not necessarily equate to heroism,” said Mr Okudo, in a statement to newsrooms.
Mr Okudo explained that the government had attempted to resolve the ambiguity and perceived bias in determining heroes by setting out broad objective criteria as captured in the Heroes Act as well as ceding a big part of the nomination lever to counties to ensure wide public participation.
According to the First Schedule of the Heroes Act, the honourees are recognised for their contributions in the following categories or classes: Spiritual leadership, indigenous knowledge, arts, cultural values and practices, sports, scholarship, professionalism and research, peace making, statesmanship, philanthropy, entrepreneurship or industry and special achievement.
Army colonels Rose Mutyambai from Kitui and Vitalis Ajumbo from Kisumu were both cited for outstanding military service and promotion of education and peace in their respective communities while Mr Khamis Said Khamis from Mombasa was celebrated for efforts in the fight against drugs and substance abuse in Likoni.
Two clerics, Reverend Onam Ogada, the head of Nomia Church, from Homa Bay and Bishop Samwel Adede of Agano Ark of the Covenant Evangelical Church in Migori were both cited for peace building in their communities.
Mr Joachim Onyango Ndalo, a renowned artist, was honoured for making impressive images of outstanding personalities in the country and also training the youth in the craft.
Mr Robert Ouko, a gold medal winner at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Ms Catherine Ndereba, four-time winner of Boston Marathon, Mr Peter Dawo, former Gor Mahia and Kenya national team footballer, Mr Lukas Wandia, gold medallist in the 2017 Deaflympics, and Ms Janet Jepkosgei, aka “Eldoret Express’ were some of the sportspeople honoured.