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Understanding Kenya’s national honors that Ruto gave Awinja, Njugush

By Winnie Mabel December 14th, 2023 2 min read

Earlier this week, on Jamhuri Day, President William Ruto bestowed national honors on several Kenyans, including feted sports and entertainment personalities and a host of career politicians.

Among them were Ferdinand Omanyala, Jacky Vike alias Awinja, Timothy Ndegwa alias Njugush, Abel Mutua and Edwin Butita.

According to the National Honors Act 2013, the President can confer national honors- recognise, decorate or award- on an individual, body unit, association of persons, or a corporation at times he deems it appropriate, taking into consideration the recommendations of the National and County Governments Honors Advisory Committee, Parliamentary Honors Advisory Committee or the Judiciary Honors Advisory Committee.

Recipients of these National Honors are awarded based on merit, and this can be for their exhibition of exemplary qualities, actions or achievements, exemplary contributions to the country and the civil service or a person who brought honor, glory, and pride to the country- whether they are alive or deceased.

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The Kenyan presidential awards, orders, and medals include the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart (C.G.H) which is awarded to presidential officeholders.

It is divided into three categories: Chief of the Golden Heart, Elder of the Golden Heart for the deputy presidents, and Moran of the Golden Heart.

The next one is the Order of the Burning Spear, which is divided into Chief, Elder, and Moran and respectively awarded to those who carry out distinguished public service in any sector or industry.

The Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (O.G.W) that Jacky Vike, a.k.a Awinja, received is awarded to individuals recognised for outstanding service rendered to Kenya in various capacities. Ms Vike is one of the legendary actresses and comedians in Kenya.

Other honors and medals include the Uhodari Medal awarded to outstanding military personnel, the Kenyan Silver Star awarded to uniformed officers in law enforcement, and the Distinguished Conduct Medal of Kenya awarded within the Armed Forces.

While no known monetary gain has been noted to accompany these national honors and awards, only the relevant Cabinet Secretaries can prescribe the privileges or benefits attached to the national honors conferred.