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Do hustlers know it’s Christmas? : The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Kenyans on Jamhuri Day. [Courtesy]

One of the highlights of Jamhuri Day celebrations is the handing out of State honours to Kenyans who’ve offered exemplary service to the nation. Those who have gone beyond the call of duty. State commendations are common practice worldwide; we inherited ours from the British.

A friend sent a message to a WhatsApp group specifying the page in the Kenya Gazette where his name appeared. He was very delighted. Another friend didn’t show up for a golf game on Jamhuri Day so he could pick up his honours.
I carefully looked for my name in the special issue of the Kenya Gazette. It was missing. I even enlisted my friends in looking for it because I have poor eyesight. Their answer was still negative. 
Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Millions of Kenyans didn’t get any State honours either. Some will never get; others will keep waiting until time runs out and nature takes its course. 

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Without being jealous, there are a few Kenyans who deserve these honours in the future.
First on the list are matatu drivers who hustle all day and night to take us to our workplaces and back home. They navigate clogged roads and balance the interests of matatu owners, police officers and passengers. It’s one of the hardest jobs in Kenya – maybe in the world. 
Then there are the security guards, who outnumber police officers. They risk their lives to make us feel safe. They endure rain and sun, and hope that one day they’ll rest from hustling. Noted that most security guards are ‘imported’ to Nairobi?
Housegirls and boys (though they’re mostly adults) also deserve our honours. They bring up children who are often not the best behaved. They take more care of the kids than the kids’ own parents, and at the most critical formative stages of their lives. Sadly, their own children don’t get as much attention. 
Maize roasters also roast maize in all seasons and ensure our appetites are taken care of. They are adept in identifying strategic locations, and they’ve kept on with their jobs despite the rise in charcoal prices. 

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Tuko pamoja
What of receptionists who form the first front in creating a firm’s image? They should be called First Impression Managers. They absorb our anger and arrogance in style. 
We can’t forget golf caddies either, who help golfers enjoy the game as they carry a heavy bag full of oddly-named implements like drivers, putters, irons and woods. They often take the blame for a golfer’s bad game. 
How about teachers who’ve been deprived the power to discipline, yet are still expected to produce ‘A’ students? 
There are many more Kenyans who would get commendations, but the honours are few and obey the laws of supply and demand. To those who were recognised, congratulations for going beyond the call of duty. We hope public and private sectors will get improved services from you.

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For those who missed out, tuko pamoja. We must never get tired of doing good; even if we fail to get State honours, our families, or even those not yet born, will pay tribute to our good work.
And why have honours not been devolved? Why are counties not giving honours to their citizens who go beyond the call of duty mashinani?
Who did we leave out of our honours list?
XN Iraki; [email protected]   

HustlenomicsJamhuri DayState honoursKenya GazetteHustlersJobsEntrepreneurshipXN Iraki





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