Dedan Kimathi grave ‘located’
“...The graveside of liberation hero Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi Wachuiri has been identified!”
This was the long-awaited announcement that was finally made on Friday afternoon by the Dedan Kimathi Foundation headed by the liberation hero's daughter, Evelyn Wanjugu Kimathi.
“The site, whose search has been going on for years, is at the Kamiti Maximum Prison, Nairobi. This development is not just great news for the Dedan Kimathi family, but then larger struggle heroes fraternity,” said the brief statement signed by Wanjugu.
And the news, which at first was received with scepticism because of numerous near misses in the decades' long search for the grave at the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi, was welcomed by the family and former freedom fighters, especially in Nyeri, Kirinyaga and larger Mt Kenya region, the epicentre of the struggle for independence.
The family and thousands of Mau Mau veterans have waged a spirited campaign to locate the unmarked grave and exhume the remains of a man who was not just a father and leader of the fighters, but a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice in the country's bloody struggle for independence, to accord him a decent burial.
If it comes to pass, the announcement, which says “following numerous concerted efforts spearheaded by the Government of Kenya...” will bring to an end a riddle that has occupied successive governments from the pre-independence era.
According to government records, Kimathi was buried in an unmarked grave and has remained so over the years, making it difficult to bring to a closure the issue of his burial site, for fear it could be turned into a shrine by millions of Kenyans who participated in the bloody struggle.
Kimathi was captured by colonialists in 1952 at Karunaini village in Tetu and tried before being hanged. During Kimathi’s trial in Nyeri, no mention was made of the leadership of the rebellion between 1952 and 1960.
The tedious process to exhume the body of the hero will wait for the ruling from Chief Justice David Maraga for a formal burial. "We now wait with crossed fingers for chief justice David Maraga to allow for the exhumation of his remains for a decent burial," said Wanjugu.
On Friday night, excited family members were joined by several of the hero's comrades-at-arms for thanksgiving service at their home in Nyandarua.