Eliud Kipchoge and the Head of State Awards debate
A heated debate has emerged regarding the award that mother Kenya should present to its finest, Mr. Eliud Kipchoge, as recognition for his historic INEOS Marathon challenge on Saturday. Kipchoge, a Kenyan long-distance runner, brought the world to a standstill on October 12 when he broke the 2-hour barrier by running a distance of 42 Kilometers in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds in Vienna, Austria.
Eliud became the first human in the history of athletics in the world to run such a distance under two hours. The country is celebrating him and politicians, corporate executives and top government officials could not help but pen down their congratulatory messages on their Social Media accounts.
As the Mashujaa Day approaches, some of the Twitter users have suggested that Kipchoge should be recognized as a Shujaa. So how else can it be done if not by awarding him the country’s highest Medal of Honor, Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (EGH)? Of course, that is the top award Kenya reserves for its praiseworthy citizens.
In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred Head of State Commendations to 401 individuals; a few of them, however, did not deserve the national award. The presidential commendation awards are meant to acknowledge and celebrate those who have demonstrated selfless service to the nation. While the awards are made by the president upon the advice of a National Honours and Awards Committee in the president’s office, how the 2017 list was reached still baffle Kenyans to date.
Denis Itumbi, a recipient of the highly coveted Head of State commendation tweeted:
— Dennis Itumbi, HSC (@OleItumbi) October 12, 2019
This angered Kenyans online who were not shy to remind him of the famous Githeri man who was awarded HSC for carrying Githeri in a voting line and a musician who also got the civilian award for composing a political praise song which does not completely justify why one should be celebrated.
Giving Eliud Kipchoge that useless award is demeaning his achievements. Those awards have been reserved for socialites, criminals, drug dealers, people who fund presidential campaigns, githeri man and the likes. Eliud is the GREATEST and doesn't belong there. Your wish is trash! https://t.co/iDjH32OnzP
— The People’s Watchman (@bonifacemwangi) October 12, 2019
Does this mean that the National Awards have lost its meaning and value? This is what happens when individuals who are supposed to be recognized are not and those of questionable behaviors who have done nothing except spread propaganda, cheap politics and hate are lauded and recognized as heroes.
Eliud Kipchoge has done this nation the best and his selfless patriotism speaks for itself.