A Kenyan man who gained fame during the country’s presidential election for eating from a paper bag while queuing to cast his vote was on Tuesday given a top national award, during the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
Kamotho Martin was named among 59 Kenyans who received the Head of State Commendation, given to citizens who made a positive impact in the country, by exhibiting exemplary qualities or achievements of heroism, patriotism or leadership.
Recipients of the award are selected by the National Honours and Awards Committee, who work under the Office of the President.
Kamotho was nicknamed ‘Githeri Man’ after a photo of him eating githeri from a paper bag went vital on social media. Githeri is a common Kenyan meal that is made of a mixture of boiled maize and beans.
The picture provided comic relief for millions of Kenyans who had turned up to vote amid a heightened political climate.
It went on to inspire a #GitheriManChallenge on social media, as people imitated Kamotho’s gesture for fun.
— Fidelcastro Qemboi (@fidelqemboi) August 18, 2017
— George™ (@GeorgeMarkton) September 2, 2017
— Kiba Nation (@kiba_nation) August 14, 2017
Such was the impact of the photo that Kamotho received various gifts from different corporates, including a piece of land.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of that election with 54.27 per cent ahead of main opposition leader Raila Odinga who garnered 44.74 per cent.
The poll was however nullified by the country’s Supreme Court, which ruled that it was marred with electoral malpractices. The court ordered a repeat within 60 days of the ruling which was issued on September 1.
Kenyatta again went on to win the repeat vote conducted on October 26, with more than 98 percent, after Odinga withdrew from contention.