State urged to honour fallen icon's wish on Kimathi burial

Mukami Kimathi at Nyayo stadium during Mashujaa Day celebrations. [File, Standard]

The family of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi now wants the government in collaboration with the British to reveal where he was buried and allow his exhumation.

The family and some leaders from Mt Kenya region said giving Kimathi a decent burial will be a honour to his late widow Mukami.

Kimathi’s daughter Evelyne Wanjiku said this was the last wish of their matriarch who was pronounced dead on Friday at Nairobi Hospital where she had been rushed.

“We prayed together on Thursday night and got her to bed. At night, we felt like she was having breathing difficulties. We rushed her to Nairobi Hospital where she was pronounced dead,” said Wanjiku.

Wanjiku said it will be a sigh of relief if Kenya and the UK will collaborate and honour Mukami’s wish to be buried next to her late husband.

“It is said that Field Marshal Kimathi was buried at Kamiti Prison. We appeal to the government to grant my mother’s last wish to have the remains exhumed and reburied at a place of honour or next to her,” said Wanjiku.

She said: “This is a genuine and humble prayer made by a person who is no longer with us. As a family, we wish that our matriarch will not be buried before Kimathi’s remains are removed from Kamiti Prison. It is disrespectful that a freedom fighter is still in prison even in his death."

Mukami Kimathi during an interview at her home in Komarock, Nairobi, in May 2022. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Wanjiku said they were willing to delay the interment of Mukami’s body as they wait to hear from the government.

“This was her prayer that she is not buried before the remains of her late husband are brought out of that prison. We wish to have them buried at our Njambini home. We are not doing this to fight the government but to honour her,” said Wanjiku.

Nyandarua Governor Kiarie Badilisha described Mukami’s death as the loss of an icon of freedom and true embodiment of Kenya’s resilience.

“Mukami will be remembered for her role in supporting the struggle,” said Badilisha. The governor said Mukami’s role in the freedom struggle symbolizes roles that women played in emancipating the country from the shackles of colonialism.

“As another of our fading generation of freedom fighters goes to rest, we stand reminded of their patriotism and unquestionable loyalty to their land, and in their clarion call that in our land freedom abode,” he said. Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni mourned Mukami as a selfless citizen.