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Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima: The only female Field Marshal

Achieving Woman
 Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima

Kenya went through great trial during the fight for independence. We talk of heroes such as Dedan Kimathi who paid the ultimate price for us to be where we are today.

When you speak of the Mau Mau freedom fighters who shed blood and lost their lives for this country, you will be filled with a sense of deep appreciation. One of those people who lay everything down for this country is Muthoni Kirima.

Muthoni wa Kirima was born in Central Province in 1931. Being born in the colonial era meant Muthoni, as a young girl, saw the injustices committed against native Africans by the colonialists.

Having never had a formal education and with parents who worked in a European farm, Muthoni nursed the dream of Kenya becoming independent one day.

Muthoni, aged about 20, became a spy for the Mau Mau fighters who had camped in the forest in 1952. During the war, many women were used as spies by the fighters or supplied food to them.

 Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima

For Muthoni, spying and bringing food was not enough, she wanted to fight. She wanted to be right where the action was. Muthoni convinced Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi to allow her into the forest as a fighter. Muthoni proved a gallant soldier.

Fighting next to Dedan Kimathi and proving herself to be a valuable soldier, Muthoni was promoted to field marshal and became the only woman to have ever reached that status.

Muthoni was injured on many occasions and at times looked death in the eye. She had two miscarriages which left her unable to bear more children but her fighting spirit never died. Sporting the signature dreadlocks worn by all the fighters, Muthoni stayed in the forest and fought for the freedom of her country.

Come December 12, 1963, Kenya was declared independent and Muthoni and other fighters saw the success of their efforts. Emerging from the forest where they had lived alongside animals and extreme weather conditions, could hardly believe they have come this far.

Though she never had children of her own, Muthoni has grown old and enjoys the company of her adopted children and their children. She holds dear the memories of the war and indepence. Kenya is who she is today because Muthoni wa Kirima paid a price.

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