The Kenya Heroes Act No. 5 of 2014 was assented to by the President on 29/04/2014. It is an Act of Parliament to provide for the recognition of heroes, to establish criteria for the identification, selection and honouring of national heroes, to provide for the categories of heroes, to provide for the establishment of the National Heroes Council and for related purposes.
The Cabinet Secretary for the time the being who is responsible for matters related to National Heritage, is the one charged by the Act to bring into operation on such date as he may by Notice in the Kenya Gazette appoint.
It is now more than four years since the Kenya Heroes Act 2014 was enacted and yet the Minister for matters relating to National Heritage has not yet operationalized the Act. It is those who will be identified, selected as per criteria set in the Kenya Heroes Act 2014 who will have Pride of Place on Mushujaa Day once the Act takes effect.
The Kenya Heroes Act 2014 at Section 3 (2) states that a person shall be considered a hero for purposes of the Act where the person has positively contributed selflessly and sacrificed for the country in any of the functional areas set out in the Act as:
- Liberation struggle
- Spiritual leadership
- Indigenous knowledge
- Cultural values and practices
- Scholarship, professionalism, research
And each of those areas has qualities assigned that will measure the positive contribution, selflessness, sacrifice.
The Cabinet Secretaries who have been in charge of the matters relating to National Heritage have and continue to flout the Constitution of Kenya with impunity in their failure since 2014 to operationalize the Kenya Heroes Act and thereby diminish, undermine the constitutional basis of Mashujaa Day which is a day set out to remember, celebrate Kenya’s Heroes past and present.
Elected leaders of the National Assembly have failed in their duties of ensuring that legislation they enact sees the light of day and is not held at ransom by unelected Cabinet Secretaries just as happened to the Kenya Heroes Act 2014.
The Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters of National Heritage currently is Rashid Echesa Mohammed and must take immediate steps to appoint the date by Gazette Notice when the Kenya Heroes Act must come into operation. For until the Kenya Heroes Act is operationalized, Mashujaa Day will remain abstract, academic and devoid of content, the people, the Heroes the day was set aside for.