Attorney General Githu Muigai has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s
criteria in awarding national honours.
Prof Muigai says that merits and individual qualities are some of the
key elements when it comes to being conferred with national honours. In his
response to a suit filed by former Member of Parliament Harun
Mwau, challenging the process of drawing up a list of Kenyans to be awarded
during the coming Kenya at 50 celebrations.
The AG says the act of identifying persons from various
sectors for purposes of being awarded with national honours involves
differentiating individuals based on their services, a criteria which is not
He says that although the national honours were a prerogative of the president as per a 2004 guideline; the National Honours Act of 2013 and Article
134(4) of the constitution do not provide for mass beneficiaries.
He reiterates that both the 2004 guideline and the 2013 National
Honours Act establishes stringent and elaborate structures for the nomination
of persons to be honoured and awarded and therefore can not be substituted by a
mere court judgement.
“One element that runs through the guidelines and Act is merit and
individual qualities, actions or achievements of heroism, sacrifice, bravery,
patriotism or leadership for the defence, benefit or or betterment of the
country or a county and the National Honours Act and Article 134(4) of
the constitution,” Prof Muigai said.
Mwau had moved to court alleging that some judges, magistrates and
assistant ministers have been overlooked in the conferment of presidential
awards and commendations.
In his petition before Justice Mumbi Ngugi, Mwau argued that the National
Honours and Awards Committee was in the process of drawing up a list of Kenyans
to be awarded during the coming national celebrations and deserving Kenyans who
have not been awarded should not be left out.
He claimed that the Government had wilfully and intentionally by-passed
deserving Kenyans in the conferment of the awards as deserving civil servants,
who have never been honoured, suffer low morale in performing their duties in government.
The case will be
heard in January 2014.