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Sagana: State Lodge with a rich political history

By | Published Wed, February 18th 2009 at 00:00, Updated Wed, February 18th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Francis Ngige

Nyeri has an important place in Kenya’s history.

It was in the town that Queen Elizabeth learnt of her enthronement.

She had visited Sagana Lodge in 1952 when she learnt of her father, King George VI’s death, and her own accession to the throne.

Then, the lodge was known as the Royal Lodge. It was given to Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) and The Duke of Edinburgh as a wedding present.

In 1963, The Queen returned the lodge to the Government to celebrate the attainment of Independence on December 12.

Royal lodge

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A statement issued at the time said: "The Prime Minister of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, has gratefully accepted the gift on behalf of the Government. The Government intends to use the Royal Lodge in the way proposed by Her Majesty and hope that she herself will come and stay there."

It is at the Sagana State Lodge that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga struck a deal on the Coalition Government Cabinet.

Freedom fighters

Nyeri is home to several freedom fighters, including Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi and General Ndung’u Gicheru.

At the historic Ruring’u Stadium, the Mau Mau freedom fighters gathered to surrender their weapons after forcing the to give Kenya independence.

Several colonial villages established during the struggle are still in place as successive governments have not settled the residents.

Nyeri is also the burial place of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a fighter in the Boer War and founder of the Scout movement.

Robert and his wife are buried in the town cemetery.

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