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Widow of Mau-Mau war veteran puzzled by ungrateful government

By Francis Ngige | March 20th 2016
General Mathenge's wife Miriam Muthoni at her home Labura Village, Mweiga in Nyeri County on 18 March 2016. General Mathenge was one of the leaders of the Mau-Mau rebellion who had waged war against the British colonialists. [PHOTO:KIBATA KIHU/STANDARD].

Right in the middle of the deeply forested area stands a nondescript homestead. The humble abode in Labura village, Kieni constituency, Nyeri County is the home of  Miriam Muthoni Mathenge (pictured), the widow of Mau-Mau war veteran, General Stanley Mathenge wa Mirugi.

Mathenge was among the brave Africans who started the Mau Mau rebellion in 1950s together with Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi who was later hanged.

After the rebellion collapsed, Mathenge vanished into the wilderness near the Ethiopian border. He is presumed dead.

Miriam Muthoni, 91, lives in a three-bedroom  brick house, which she put up in 1991 from the sale of farm produce. But despite being the widow of a revered freedom fighter and also being a Mau Mau war veteran, she still struggles.

She says the government has not done enough to recognise and assist freedom fighters.

“My husband sacrificed his life for the sake of this country, I also spent seven years at Kamiti Prison and this is the life I  live,” she said.

She remembers her encounter with former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta. “Ask Mama Ngina Kenyatta, she knows me very well as we spent sometime together at Kamiti Prison,” she says.

Muthoni says except for the the 55-acre farm she was allocated,  the government has done little to assist  her. “I don’t even get the money for the elderly yet I hear Mukami (Dedan Kimathi’s widow) was given a car and is usually invited for State functions,” she noted.

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She recalled how former Kieni MP Nemesysus Warugongo tried to help her to see former President Mwai Kibaki in vain.

“I don’t think I would ever try it again, since despite being at the gates of State House, a certain woman said a big No. Why would I waste my time again seeking to see the president?” posed Muthoni, who is glad she was helped by friends to connect electricity to her home.

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