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Body of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba to be cremated on Friday

By Protus Onyango | April 24th 2018
One of the vehicle in Murang'a branded with the late Kenneth Matiba’s photograph. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Kenyans will tomorrow and Thursday have an opportunity to view the body of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba before the cremation on Friday.

The second liberation hero will be accorded State funeral services in Nairobi and Murang’a, Government officials said yesterday.

Murang’a Senator and former Kiharu MP Irungu Kang’ata said the family had decided to obey Matiba’s wishes by cremating his body at the Lang’ata Crematorium.

“Mama Edith confirmed on Sunday that our hero Matiba will be cremated in Lang’ata on Friday according to his wishes, which the family felt it could not go against,” Kang’ata said yesterday.

He spoke in the company of the Government funeral committee and Matiba’s family members at Harambee House yesterday during a press briefing.

The committee members include Cabinet secretaries James Macharia (Transport), Fred Matiangi (Interior), and Joe Mucheru (ICT), Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, and family members among them Matiba’s son, Raymond.

Mr Macharia said funeral arrangements had been finalised and there would be two funeral services - one in Nairobi tomorrow and another one at Ihura Stadium on Thursday.

“We have worked hard at the orders of President Uhuru Kenyatta and we want to assure Kenyans that we have finished all arrangements to give our hero Matiba a befitting send off,” the CS said.

Hailing Matiba as a second liberation hero, Macharia called on Kenyans to turn up in large numbers to give Matiba a send-off that befitted his status.

“We are enjoying the current free democratic environment mainly because of Matiba’s efforts and those of his comrades during the struggle for multi-party politics. That is why we are calling on Kenyans to show up and witness his final journey,” Macharia said.

He added that the funeral service in Nairobi would be held at All Saints Cathedral.

Funeral procession

“We expect those wishing to attend to be seated by 10am. Those willing to join the funeral procession should be at the Lee Funeral Home earlier. The procession of family members, friends, liberation heroes and Government officials, will leave Lee onto Haile Selassie Avenue, before crossing Uhuru Park to the cathedral at 10.30am,” Macharia said.

On Thursday, the body will be at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a. “We will leave Lee funeral home and use Wangari Maathai Road to Pangani, Thika highway, and branch left before Kenol in Murang’a to Saba Saba, Maragwa, then Ihura Stadium,” the CS said.

Raymond and his sister, Ivy Matiba-Chege, thanked Uhuru, other leaders, and Kenyans for standing with the family.

“We are happy that the President is spearheading Mzee’s funeral arrangements. We thank our leaders and all Kenyans for the visits they have made to our homes and for the messages of condolences they have sent us. Let them join us in Mzee’s final farewell,” Raymond said.

Uhuru, his deputy, William Ruto, retired President Mwai Kibaki, National Super Alliance (NASA) principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Musalia Mudavadi, and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka are among the leaders who have visited Matiba’s home in Riara Ridge, Limuru, to comfort the family.

Kang’ata urged Murang’a residents to turn up in large numbers to view Matiba's body before cremation, saying the residents were saddened by the politician's demise.

Matiba is said to have made it clear that his family should not treat his death as a public affair or hold a fundraiser for his funeral.

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