What does it take to be a hero in Kenya?
Mashujaa Day is a reflection of our collective recognition that any great nation must honour its heroes as a source of national pride.
With all the pomp, colour and funfair that has been a norm during the celebrations, the most outstanding factor has always been celebrating our heroes.
The event has always witnessed huge turnouts, and graced by both local and international dignitaries as the country commemorate those who fought for Kenya’s independence.
The pressing question however is, who is a hero? A hero is someone who is admired for his achievements and his noble qualities.
A hero is a genuine person who cares for the well being and prosperity of others without seeking any attention for fame or redemption.
Someone who goes beyond one’s expectations may be considered a hero. A heroic person must be willing to sacrifice his or her life for the society and for what is best for the society.
Speaking at Nyayo National Stadium during the Mashujaa Day celebrations, President Uhuru Kenyatta did not forget to appreciate the values of our forefathers who espoused and finally delivered our country from the yoke of colonialism and domination.
“It was on the strength of their highly held values, they secured the future for us,” said President Kenyatta.
In order to recognize the heroes and heroines of the nation a Heroes Act was formed in 2014.
The Heroes Act consolidates various ways of recognising heroes to establish the best criteria of identifying, selecting and honouring the national heroes.
A National Heroes Council was also established to formulate, implement, identify and also recommend policies relating to national heroes.
How heroes are identified
Heroes are recognized and declared through a definite process.
First members of the council have to, by notice, publish in print or electronic media call for proposals of nominations for suitable persons to be advocated for declaration as heroes.
After determination of the heroes and heroines the list is forwarded to the President and published in a gazette after a declaration.
A certificate is also issued to those recognized for their remarkable work in the country in various fields to confer them with the status of a national hero.
Privileges of heroes
The persons declared as heroes are usually entitled to certain benefits which include an invite as a state guest, national and community functions
For those in need of assistance they are accorded with the highest attainable standard of health care services, accessible housing, standard sanitation as well as social security.
Their dependants also benefit from the recognition by getting free education, transport to public functions and employment opportunities, offered only to those with relevant qualifications.
Famous novelist Brodi Ashton once wrote. “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with,”
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