, 12 tweets, 5 min read
Did you know that the wives of all four Kenyan presidents have been bestowed the highest national honour available to non-heads of state, the Elder of the Golden Heart of Kenya, three of them by their husbands? @AnneKiguta discussed this with the PS Heritage on #Punchline jana.
In 2014, Parliament passed the Kenya Heroes Act which provides elaborate mechanisms for identifying and caring for mashujaa. GoK has refused to operationalize it as it threatens the President's ability to use national honours as a form of political patronage. #Punchline
Our laws also distinguish between heroes (to be identified via the Kenya Heroes Act) and those whom the President gives state honours. The latter get them at his sole discretion and he is free to ignore the criteria and procedure laid out by the National Honours Act 2013.
And this is despite the fact that the Constitution says national honours are awarded in the name of the people of Kenya and of the republic. The President still gets to dish them out with impunity to his friends, family members and pretty much anyone he feels partial to.
MPs have gotten in on the act, passing the National Honours Act in which they formed a committee (made up of MPs) to advise the President on who among them should get state honours. There's one for the Judiciary and another for national and county govts chaired by @WilliamSRuto.
This is not surprising in a country where rulership is legitimized by silly, ostentatious displays of state accoutrements like titles ("Your Excellency"), costumes and flags on cars. The obsession with such among the ruling classes is yet another gift of colonial rule. #Punchline
Counties are also setting up their own ridiculously named honours and medals for public officials to fete themselves. Kakamega has reserved Chief of the Order of the Green Jewel for the Governor and Brave of the Order of the Green Jewel for "high-ranking officials" like his wife.
Kakamega also has something called the Order of the Resilient Shield (no, I'm not kidding: kakamega.go.ke/download/the-k…) and the Green Shining Star for students, county officers and enforcement officers.
Nakuru seeks to create the Chief of the Order of the Golden Crown reserved for the Governor and Moran of the Order of the Golden Crown for his wife (and others). Basically the counties are copy-pasting the colonial behaviour of the national government. nation.co.ke/counties/nakur…
Remember that Jomo Kenyatta create the national honours system in a proclamation dated April 12, 1966 and the first ones were issued in the first New Year's List (again copied from the Queen's New Year's List) in 1967. Top recipients included his wife, Ngina, who snagged an EGH.
By now it should not be necessary for me to mention that of course Kenyatta kept the CGH for himself.
As far back as the 1920s, the colonial government was using honours and the trinkets that came with them to reward "zeal and loyalty" among the natives. books.google.co.ke/books?id=274tl…
Following a similar path to its colonial forebears, from independence to the present-day, as discussed yesterday on #Punchline, GoK preferred to give medals and honours to the equivalent of KANU chairmen rather than those who went into the forest to fight. books.google.co.ke/books?id=x6bod…
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