What Presidential Awards, Orders and Medals in Kenya Mean

  • During most of the national holidays, the country has witnessed a number of Kenyans being conferred with presidential awards in recognition of their service to the nation.

    Various statesmen including academicians, technocrats, politicians, journalists, athletes, clergymen among others have received the coveted awards which are only conferred by a sitting Head of State.

    But which are the awards, what do they mean and who are some of those who have previously been given the same?

    The current medals are divided into eight with each category being set aside for select individuals especially the high and mighty in the country.

    The highest of these awards is the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya which is divided into three classes depending on their seniority. The most senior is the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (C.G.H.) which is mostly awarded to Presidents.

    Apart from sitting Kenyan Presidents, other notable figures who have previously been given the honour include Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Agha Khan IV among others.

    Next is the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.) which is awarded to among others the Deputy President, Speakers of Parliament, Cabinet Secretaries, the First Lady, the wife of the Deputy President, Head of Public Service and the Kenya Defence Forces' (KDF) Chief of Staff.

    The last in this category is the Moran of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (M.G.H.) whose recipients include senior KDF commanders and the Inspector General of Police.

    The second highest category of the awards is the Order of the Burning Spear which is equally divided into the Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (C.B.S.), Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (E.B.S.) and Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (M.B.S.).

    Some of those who hold this award are senior judges, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu and journalist Jeff Koinange, 800M Olympic champion David Rudisha among others.

    The other presidential orders in terms of seniority include; the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya, the Distinguished Conduct Order, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star of Kenya, Head of State's Commendation and the Uhodari Medal.

    These commendations are given to recipients on the advice of the National Honours and Awards Committee in the Office of the President.

    According to the National Honours Act, those who merit the decoration include; a person who exhibits exemplary qualities, or achievements of heroism, patriotism or leadership, one who has made an exemplary contribution to the country in the economic, scientific, academic, sports, journalism, business, security or other fields.

    Others to be considered are a State officer or public officer who has made an exemplary contribution to the betterment of the national or county governments, the executive, the judiciary, the legislature and a person who has otherwise brought honour, glory or pride to the nation.