An independent body will be put in place to identify, recognise and honour national heroes and heroines.
The move is aimed at identifying Kenyans of outstanding performance in different fields.
The Mashujaa Council is currently under an interim committee, which is putting in place structures before the council is fully constituted, Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has said.
The council will be mandated to formulate and implement policy relating to national heroes and identify and recommend the heroes. It will also establish and oversee the management of the national heroes’ square, oversee the design and creation of appropriate commemorative items for purposes of honouring national heroes and administer state assistance to the heroes where necessary.
The council will also have custody and oversee the management of properties and institutions relating to heroes; enforce sanctions and penalties in respect to disgraced national heroes, oversee the keeping and maintenance of registers in which shall be entered the names of every national hero and the names of any dependant of any such hero, among others.
A National Heroes Fund will also be set up to benefit needy heroes and their dependants.
KENYA HEROES ACT
The money, which will be administered by a board of trustees, will come from donations, endowments, or grants from any source or investments made by the trustees.
For a long time, Kenya has been accused of neglecting its true heroes, instead rewarding undeserving individuals.
Dr Wario said the recognition of heroes should inspire and re-energise Kenyans to re-dedicate themselves to emulate the heroes’ outstanding selfless service to the country.
He said that as a tribute to the freedom fighters, the government had spent Sh74.8 million for the construction of phase one of Mashujaa Square or Heroes Corner at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.
“The government has honoured heroes and heroines primarily by enacting the Kenya Heroes Act 2014, erecting monuments, statues, supporting relatives and celebration of Mashujaa Day as per chapter two of the constitution,” he said.
Mashujaa Day is a public holiday set aside on October 20 to collectively honour all those who contributed towards the struggle for Kenya’s independence. It will be celebrated tomorrow.
The day was previously known as Kenyatta Day, which was celebrated to commemorate the detention in Kapenguria of freedom fighters Achieng Oneko, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Jomo Kenyatta, Kung’u Karumba and Paul Ngei, often referred to as the Kapenguria Six.
However, following the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010, Kenyatta Day was renamed Mashujaa Day.
Dr Wario said that last year during celebrations to mark 50 years of self-rule, 50 Kenyans received Golden Jubilee awards, and this year 115 heroes and heroines among them 21 sportspeople will be honoured.