Former Citizen TV reporter and anchor Jacque Maribe won’t take hits from trolls lying down.
As Kenyans marked Mashujaa Day on Sunday, the question on whether Maribe and her friend Dennis Itumbi deserved the state awards they received two years ago became a topic of discussion for the better part of the day.
The duo was among notable figures who received the Head of State’s Commendation (H.S.C.) from President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017. Others include bloggers Robert Alai, Pauline Njoroge and many others.
Itumbi, appeared in a local station on Sunday night to try and explain what he had done to merit the honour.
The Secretary of Innovation, Digital and Diaspora Communication in the Office of the President explained that he was given the award for his exemplary performance just like many who received the award that day.
“It was a way of the president saying well done Dennis, the issues of my citation were two, attempt to connect Nakuru to Free Wifi and introducing a digital infrastructure for the government that was both human and physical,” he said.
“That was basically bringing bloggers to be accepted in a scheme of public service and introducing handles for the different ministries to communicate to the people without using media brokers to communicate with the people like in the past.”
He noted that heroes are in our daily lives and people should stop the cynical way of looking at things.
“The modern world appears to suggest that unless one achieves truly outstanding fetes of globally known the one is not a hero nor can he or she claim to be great. We must reject this view that our Kenya best days are behind, “Itumbi quoted the words of the President during the Mashujaa Day fete in Mombasa County.
As the interview was going on some netizens were still not convinced that the duo deserved the awards maintaining that the president rewarded them for their political patronage during the 2017 General Election period.
In Itumbi’s defence, Jackie noted that most people who were opposed to their awards didn’t have information on how selection for the awards is done.
“My bestie Dennis Itumbi is having a convo on K24 Punchline. Question is he and I among others got HSC awards. Problem is people don’t research how these awards are given. Riswa! Tunaelewa! Mungu mbele. Well done sweetie Dennis Itumbi I am, Jacque Maribe HSC, she wrote on Instagram.
The conversation on presidential awards has been going on for years now, with some believing that the awards should be reserved for the “extraordinary”, an idea that Ms Maribe and Itumbi seem no to agree with.
On his part, Alai, while commenting on the issue, noted that Kenyans should focus on more pressing economical issues than just “awards”.
“Personally, awards (earned or otherwise) are meaningless to me. The HSC can’t even be returned but I can tell you that it’s meaningless to me when Kenyans still suffer.
“We have become a country of wash wash that everyone fight head over heels to get awards which are meaningless, ” he wrote.
The group of people challenging Itumbi and the likes awards lauded the president’s move to fete marathon living legend Eliud Kipchoge with Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.) — a top civilian award — during the Mashujaa celebrations yesterday.
Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya is the highest category of presidential awards which is further divided into three classes: Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (C.G.H.), Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.) and Moran of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (M.G.H.).
Regarded as the greatest marathoner of all time, he became the first person in recorded history to run a 42-kilometre marathon in less than two hours.
The 34-year-old clocked 1:59:40.2 at the INEOS 1:59 challenge that was sponsored by Ineos Group owner and co-founder Jim Ratcliffe.
Kipchoge missed the mark by 26 seconds two years ago in Monza, Italy, during his first attempt to break the two-hour barrier.
He becomes the first sportsman to be conferred with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart award.
Some of the government officials who have previously received the award include Deputy President William Ruto, Speakers of Parliament as well as various Cabinet Secretaries.