The National Heroes Council (NHC) has embarked on a public participation initiative that will help it formulate a five-year plan that will guide the selection of National heroes.
According to Dr David Mbuthia, Deputy Director in charge of Heroes Monuments and Research, there is a need to reform and review NHC performance that will also seek to widen the scope from which national heroes are selected.
‘When we talk about national heroes and heroines, quite often people think about freedom fighters and sports personalities but the scope of great Kenyans is bigger than that.
There are Kenyans who have made contributions in other areas that deserve to be feted,” said Mbuthia
Voting national heroes
Dr Mbuthia revealed that going forward, Kenyans will have their say on those who qualify to be celebrated as national heroes through online voting.
This comes after previous complaints of those who have been celebrated before, especially during national holidays.
“We have seen Kenyans coming out to question some of the names that have been celebrated and even claim bias and favouritism.
As a council, we do our homework well and want to make sure these complaints won’t be there in the future, and we celebrate those who deserve,” added Mbuthia.
The NHC team led by Dr David Mbuthia, met tens of heroes and heroines drawn from the North Region counties of Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans-Nzoia, Nandi and West Pokot in Eldoret.
Forgotten heroes and heroines
Former 800 women world champion Janet Jepkosgei who was part of those who attended the event said quite often a celebration of heroes and heroines is a one-time event after which most of them are forgotten.
“We need to have a sustainable plan to help our heroes. Once we celebrate them during national holidays, there is no follow-up to make sure they live a decent life in their old age,” said Jepkosgei
Nyavanga Lugalia who was celebrated by President Kibaki for his contribution to peacemaking in West Pokot petitioned NHC to reach out to more Kenyans who continue to change the lives of other citizens but their efforts are not recognised by any.
“We should stop thinking that heroes and heroines are only those who fought for independence and those in sports.
We have great men in all sectors of our society who are doing great work and should be celebrated,” said Lugalia
There have been concerns from Kenyans about those who have been given national honours in previous years.
There has been a general feeling that most of them are undeserving. NHC intends to move across the country to seek public input in the plan.