Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner on the planet, has just been conferred with the second highest honour granted to civilians in Kenya.
President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred the honour, Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart, on Kipchoge on Sunday during Mashujaa Day celebrations held in Mombasa.
Kipchoge received the honour for his accomplishment of running a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, a feat thought unthinkable and nearly impossible, and in the process inspiring not just Kenyans, but the whole world.
But what are Kenya’s national heroes entitled to?
Under the National Heroes Act which was passed by Parliament in 2014 — but yet to come into force — Kipchoge would be entitled to the following benefits.
But Kipchoge may not enjoy the benefits listed below because the EGH honour he has received is under the National Honours Act.
In addition to a Certificate Of Declaration of Hero, Section 25 of the National Heroes Act says that a person recognized as a hero would be entitled to:
- Invitations to national and community functions as a state guest.
- Having cultural festivals, concerts, exhibitions and sports events organized in their honour.
- Having towns, institutions, open parks in urban areas, roads, streets, estates, stamps and notable landmarks named after them.
- The award of medals, insignia, commendations, certificates and such other commemorative as may be determined by the Council from time to time.
- The issuance of such postage stamps, scarves, mementos, utensils, apparel and artifacts as may be determined by the Council from time to time.
- The publication of books depicting their respective roles in the country’s history or the social life of the society, which shall be part of the educational curriculum or being accorded financial assistance from the National Heroes Fund where their economic circumstances warrant such assistance.
- The government may also give national heroes who are in need of assistance the following, though they are not entitled to them: health care services, housing, food, access to clean and safe water, social security, and free education for their dependants of school-going age up to tertiary level.
What are those with national honours entitled to?
The National Honours Act does not specify any benefits but in Section 14(2) it says that the Cabinet Secretary may make regulations to “prescribe the privileges or benefits that shall attach to a national honour.”