APPRECIATION

Give National Awards to Covid heroes

We, the big people, will continue to have our day from next year.

In Summary
  • My plea to the President is that he gives very clear instructions to the National Honours Advisory Committee that operates in his office those instructions early enough.
  • This would give the officials at the grassroots who are involved in this exercise time to start compiling the list early enough.

Since Independence, National Awards that are usually presented on Jamhuri Day go to the political elite, security and public servants. Very occasionally, and I mean very, a Githeri type of person gets it. It is important to recognise the long hours many of these people put in, in service to our motherland. I and three other members of my immediate family have been beneficiaries and we thank God for it.

Please allow me to make a drastic proposal for this year’s National Awards. This message is directed to the committee that vets the names from the grassroots to the national level. We, the big people, have had the privilege of getting them for the last 56 years and I’m sure will continue getting them in the future. But this is an unusual year.

It is the year that the entire world was brought to its knees by the coronavirus. No country has been spared, not even the most powerful nation on earth. From Wanjiku to the most powerful men and women, all have had to go down on their knees to seek God’s intervention.

For the first time, at a global level, we have all recognised that there is a power that is greater than us. As many people have had to seek medical assistance on a continuous basis, there are others who have had to look after them, very often under very poor, risky and demanding conditions.

We, the big people, have retreated to our secure homes with all the facilities of comfort, and are watching the crisis from a distance. Unlike Wanjiku, we have enough resources to guarantee us a good meal every day as long as food supplies are undisturbed. The only problem we currently have is if we fall ill, we would have to be treated in our local hospitals! It would be impossible for us to go to India, South Africa, or London, where we normally go.

It is the ambulance drivers and their attendants, nurses, doctors, medical technicians, those many people who are operating the quarantine centres, our researchers at Kemri and elsewhere among many others, that are at the frontline of fighting this deadly crisis. Some have even been diagnosed with Covid- 19 and some are dying in order for the rest of us to be safe.

It is the ambulance drivers and their attendants, nurses, doctors, medical technicians, those many people who are operating the quarantine centres, our researchers at Kemri and elsewhere among many others, that are at the frontline of fighting this deadly crisis. Some have even been diagnosed with Covid- 19 and some are dying in order for the rest of us to be safe.

There those sanitising our streets and other public facilities, there those like Captain Daudi Kibati of Kenya Airways who had the courage to ferry the last group of Kenyans from New York and went straight into quarantine, where he paid the ultimate prize. There those in diaspora who have, under difficult situations with many of them losing jobs, continued to support their families back home.

There are thousands who are quietly and publicly donating food and providing assistance to the poorer members of society. This involves the donors, big and small, they could be religious or charitable organisations, companies, individuals, and other organisations. There are those in the media and bloggers who are taking great risk in order to keep us updated and advising us on how to handle the crisis. Without them, the work of the government would be extremely difficult and many Kenyans would suffer greatly. The list is endless.

It is this category of people, some Kenyans and others non-Kenyans, whom I propose should get all the awards this year. Let us make this a year of celebrating these people. We, the big people, will continue to have our day from next year.

My plea to the President is that he gives very clear instructions to the National Honours Advisory Committee that operates in his office those instructions early enough. This would give the officials at the grassroots who are involved in this exercise time to start compiling the list early enough. It would be easier to do it now when the names of these people are fresh and the issue is current.

I hope my proposal will meet with the support of many Kenyans as we celebrate our real heroes of the coronavirus crisis later this year.