Mukami Kimathi Brings Kenyan Leaders Together to Show Their Differences

5 mins read

One good thing happened. Mukami Kimathi was given a state funeral which she richly deserved. Kenyans are still waiting to give Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi the same respect. That is now up to Ruto to sort out.

The burial ground at Kamiti Maximum Prison is very secretive. I was at Kamiti the last time they buried people there after hanging and it is a tough 3-4 days when the hanging happens and they bury them. I was at Kimiti Medium prison so the prisoners who do the burial are picked from our prison which is next to Kamiti Maximum.

Three days before the hanging, prisoners from Medium Prison who will do the burial are picked. Those prisoners are then taken to a special prison location where they are given the best food available in the republic. They eat good food for those days and then on the day of burial they are transported to the burial site which nobody else ever sees. The hanged prisoners are brought already in coffins and their job is to bury them and then they are taken back to prison.

After the burial, the prison is open so we go back to work as we always do as prisoners.

I was the unlucky guy. My job at Kamiti was to make sure all prison guard clothes are cleaned. I was the cleaning man. I was given clothes and I had about twenty prisoners to clean those clothes. The prison guard gives me the clothes with numbers and some washing soap and at the end of the day, I have to hand the clothes back washed and ironed.

So after the last hanging in 1987, I go to do my washing job. The prisoners tell me they do not want to touch any cloth from the guards who did the killing because the blood of those killed will be on their clothes. I tell them I have no idea who did the killing. I tell them to just step on the clothes and rinse them and then iron them.

The way the Kenyan government was doing the hanging at Kamiti Maximum when I was there was pretty frightening. The hanging system set up by the British government who killed Dedan Kimathi there was very different. The hanging system was not working so the prison guards put people on the hanger and try to kill them but they fall down the stairs still alive, and they have prison guards down there with big rungus who hammer them to sure death. And then I have to clean the damn clothes.

So here is the deal for William Ruto. Open up the whole Kamiti Maximum Prison burial grounds and give Dedan Kimathi back to the country he so much loved. Dedan Kimathi was only 36 years old when the British colonialists killed him. Kenya needs him now and it is great that the death of his wife and fellow soldier in the Mau Mau has brought the focus back to the country that has gone through many challenges and wants to move forward.

At Mukami’s funeral, she spoke quietly as Kenyan leaders tried to figure out what to do next to move the country forward.

“I agree to be corrected by Odinga. I want Azimio to hold my government accountable but not through violence and protests. We are friends and I would like to ask him to allow me to serve the people of Kenya,” said Ruto.

“The cost of living has doubled. You cannot be introducing more taxes. Kenyans are tired. I am only telling you the truth,” the Azimio leader said.

However, Odinga noted that he is ready to establish a middle ground with the government as the Azimio and Kenya Kwanza bipartisan committees meet.

“I’m sure we can work out something. I have worked with Ruto and I know him. As Azimio we have sent our team to meet with Kenya Kwanza so that we can all agree on something.”

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and  Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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