Tributes pour in after widow of Kenyan anti-colonialist hero Dedan Kimathi dies 

Francis Akhalbey May 08, 2023
Mukami Kimathi's husband, Dedan Kimathi (right), was a Kenyan freedom fighter -- Left photo credit: State House Kenya | Right photo credit: Dr Stima

Kenya’s President William Ruto led tributes to Mukami Kimathi, the widow of anti-colonialist hero and freedom fighter, Dedan Kimathi, following the announcement of her passing last Thursday. According to BBC, the deceased widow’s family said she died at a hospital in the capital Nairobi. She was taken to the health facility after she developed breathing problems.

Mrs. Mukami’s husband, Dedan Kimathi, was seen as a terrorist by the British in the 1950s, after leading the Mau Mau Uprising, an armed military struggle against the colonial regime in Kenya. His group, the Mau Mau, began as the Land and Freedom Army (KLFA), a militant Kikuyu, Embu, and Meru army which sought to reclaim the land that the British settlers had taken away from them. However, the British colonial government executed him in 1956 after he was captured and tried. 

President Ruto, on Friday, praised Mrs. Mukami for having “courageously withstood the brutality of colonial oppression, proudly wore the scars of the battle, and bore the terrible losses of war with admirable fortitude.”

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also referred to the deceased widow as “the mother of our liberation struggle and a beacon of hope surrounding the freedom fighters and their descendants.”

While alive, Mrs. Mukami is said to have advocated for the welfare of freedom fighters as they did not receive any support despite their contributions to Kenya’s independence cause. In January, a hospital in the East African nation prevented her from leaving after her family failed to raise money to settle her medical bills after she was admitted.

That incident was also seen as a manifestation of the financial plight of freedom fighters in the country, per BBC. The president ultimately settled the  $7,300 bill before she was discharged.

Mrs. Mukami had also entreated authorities to exhume her husband’s body so he could be reburied back home. Kimathi was buried at the Kamiti prison after he was executed, but for years, officials have been unable to pinpoint the exact place the freedom fighter was buried.

The deceased widow had also said it was her desire to see her husband’s grave before she passed.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 8, 2023

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