Family wait for slain hero's body, five decades on

Field Marshall Marete Baimungi (left) and other Mau Mau fighters surrender firearms. [File, Standard]

The family of late Mau Mau hero Field Marshall Marete Baimungi from Meru mirrors the plight of freedom fighters.

Baimungi led the Mau Mau troops in the Mt. Kenya forest and is credited for putting up a sustained resistance against colonial forces as they fought for Kenya’s independence.

He was held in awe in the Meru community as he was one of the lieutenants of Mau Mau leader Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi when the group led a sustained resistance against the British forces.

Baimungi, whose wife Evangeline Muthoni Baimungi died in July 2014, was fearless as he led attacks against colonialists.

He had fought in Burma during the Second World War, and after his return, he became the driver of a colonial district officer, where he stole guns for Mau Mau fighters.

He was arrested and jailed at the Mwea Prison in 1955.

Baimungi broke out of prison, and with others, met Dedan Kimathi in 1957, who ‘promoted’ him.

After the war, Prime Minister Mzee Jomo Kenyatta allocated Baimungi 10,000 acres of land at Timau.

Kenyatta also gave him a Kenyan flag to mount on the Land Rover he was given (KFF 560).

But Baimungi was dissatisfied that his fellow fighters he led had not been appreciated, like himself, and decided to go back into the forest.

Shortly thereafter, Baimungi was a dead man. He was killed on January 26, 1965, and since then, his death (and grave) remain unresolved.

His body was paraded around the village in Imenti where the residents could only watch in shock and later his body would never be seen again.

Baimungi was survived by nine children.

Kilemi Baimungi, the third born, said they never had the benefit of formal education.

Baimungi's family was driven off the 10,000 acres of land.

The family is appealing to the national government to help them regain possession of the land.