The year 2017 was a tough one for Kenyans. School fires, drought, police brutality, medics’ strike, name it. We have been through it all. But we made it through all that. In some cases, fellow countrymen went out of their way selflessly act for the benefit of fellow countrymen.
We are in man-eat-man society and we live by the ‘to each his own’ philosophy. Our leaders believe ‘it is their turn to eat’ and plunder our resources with reckless abandon. So when a few of us gave themselves to a worthy cause, the least we could have done is give them a pat on the back.
Jamhuri Day came by, and sycophancy was rewarded with State Commendations instead. Robert Alai, known propagandist previously for the opposition and now the government, was among those awarded Head of State Commendations.
Whoever came up with the list even had the humour to include ‘Githeri Man’ on the list. I have nothing against Githeri Man, but seriously? For what? Eating something we eat daily from a banned plastic bag? We can do better! Don’t give me that ‘he made united the country in laughter amidst the tension form the elections’ vibe.
There are thousands of Kenyans who could have taken his place instead. Here are 6 of them;
1.Mary Njengo Mokaya
Like the warthogs we are, I know most of us have forgotten who this little girl is. She is the Moi Girls’ student who lost her life to save her friends during the inferno in the school dormitory. She had at first escaped from the fire, then realized her friends were trapped inside and went back to rescue them. A price she paid with her life after sustaining 60 per cent burns.
Even with all that, she didn’t get a spot among our heroes and heroines. It is well!
2.KCSE invigilators who braved the floods to deliver exams
As we rage about this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates massive failures, and whether Matiang’i did a good job or not, there are people no one even noticed. The Education ministry and TSC are busy disciplining teachers culpable of exam irregularities, but they have barely recognized those who went to great lengths to deliver the exams on time and as prescribed.
3.KBC journalist who saved a street beggar from attack by bees
I have a confession. When these street beggars stop me for money, I take it as a sign that I am not walking fast enough and quicken my pace. So when ‘Maraga bees’ meted justice to those who were attempting to interrupt Supreme Court proceedings, one innocent disabled beggar was caught in the middle of it.
It became a situation of everyone for himself as people scampered for safety. But not Victor Muyakane. The KBC journalist selflessly carried and ran the beggar to safety. That was very ‘unKenyan’ of him, perhaps explains why he missed out on state commendation.
4.Reverend Timothy Njoya
For someone who has fiercely fought the government, and still is, it is unlikely for the government to give him recognition. But ‘the good ol’ reverend’ has been lighting Twitter with his humorous and open-minded approach to gender issues and relationships. Even though some feel that he has become feminized, Njoya has refused to be drawn into the gender battle.
He also does not ‘catch feelings’ at people who throw abuses at him, neither does he block them. Perhaps he should give these government officials who block any divergent view a talk.
Sallinder Nyawira is an Accounts Manager at SAFISHA- a detergents and cleaning equipment brand. That is not the reason she is featured on this list. Far from it.
Miss Nyawira founded RescueBnB- a collaborative platform that connects those in need of assistance to those with the ability to host or rescue them. They provide temporary shelter and relief to people undergoing traumatic experiences.
For instance, when we were fuelling the Kawangware clashes on social media on behalf of our political warlords, RescueBnB was helping those trapped in the clashes find safety. In a sinking society, it is heartwarming to know that there are people who still believe in humanity.
Athletics can be said to be the only thing we do as country that puts us in good standing before the world. So when Kosgei jetted out to the Warsaw Marathon, we hoped she would make us proud. And she had no intentions of letting us down, having a commanding lead of almost three minutes in the closing stages of the race. 800m to the finish line, to be exact!
Then disaster struck. She collapsed, and surprisingly got abandoned with no medical help until a fellow athlete came by and tried to help her. Even when she was down, she simply refused to give up and tried severally to get back up but her body was getting none of it.
I will never tire of reminding you that she almost lost her life trying to make us proud!
Njeri Wangari- I didn’t include her here so that she could give me a new year bonus. She has been one of the few women who have opened up discussions on issues such as women productivity and family planning that were previously hushed.
@EmpowerMama- the support they have been giving to bereaved mothers is nothing less than amazing.