Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Monday, 15 September 2014

JOSEPH KANG'ETHE WIFE BURRIED WITHOUT STATE PARTICIPATION



The wife of a Mau Mau hero from Kandara in Murang’a was finally laid to rest at his Ngararia home after passing on August 21 at the age of 115 years after suffering a stroke.

Miriam Wambui Kang’ethe was wife of the late Joseph Kang’ethe, the president of the Kikuyu Central Association. As a young girl, Wambui supplemented the struggle for the country’s independence by cooking for the Mau Mau war veterans, taking food and weapons to the fighters in the bush. She got married to Kang’ethe in 1928.

Wambui played a significant role in bringing up her family during the hard times of her husband engagement in the freedom war in the bush, fighting the colonialists and eventually ended up being detained for seven years.

The couple was blessed with five children-the late Mary Waithera, the late Philip Kamau, Peter Kariuki, Mary Njeri and Moses Kinyanjui.
The late Wambui was forced to engage in brewing illicit brews to feed and educate her family during hard times for the struggle of the country’s independence. During the burial ceremony presided over by Murang’a Diocese AIPCA Bishop Julius Njoroge, speakers described the deceased as a patriot and nationalist. They said she was a hard working and peace loving Kenyan.

While the burial of her husband in 1973 was accorded state status, Wambui’s ceremony was not attended even by the local member of county assembly.
A granddaughter of the deceased Alice Wanjeri regretted that her grandmother was not given a heroine’s burial. She said when the government gave some money “remnants of Mau Mau struggle, her cucu was not given anything”.

“The money ended up in the hands of the wives of homeguards. She died without a coin or a piece of land to show for her husband and her own contribution to the independence struggle,” said Wanjeri at the grave side.

She said her grandparents’ children and grandchildren including her were unemployed. She appealed to the Jubilee government to recognise and help them. The late Kang’ethe was a close friend of the late President Jomo Kenyatta and he used to host the president at his home in Ngararia for Muratina brew which was Kenyatta’s favourite drink.

During Kang’ethe’s burial, Mzee Kenyatta was represented by the then Commerce and Industry minister Julius Kiano. In his message of condolence, Mzee then described Kang’ethe as a colleague and a comrade in arms during the long struggle for the liberation of  the  country’s independence.

“He stood steadfastly for the rights of our people in the face of serious threat to his own life and welfare and it was through efforts and sacrifices of people with like minds that Kenya is now free,” said Mzee Kenyatta. Kang’ethe died after he was knocked down by a vehicle along then Government Road in Nairobi on June 15 1973. Joseph Kang’ethe Stadium and Joseph Kang’ethe Primary School along Joseph Kang’ethe Road in Woodley, Kibera, are  named after him.