A nation that is not fully reconciled with its past is lost, just like its people.
On Sunday, the country’s founding First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta Mama Ngina Kenyatta made a rare appearance in Nyeri at the home of Field Marshall Muthoni Wa Kirima, where the two Mau Mau matriarchs reconciled and Mama Ngina accorded the privilege of shaving Muthoni wa Kirima’s seventy-year-old dreadlocks.
Mama Ngina and Field Marshall Muthoni were close comrades during the struggle for the country’s independence, but later came to fall out when Kenya attained self-rule and Jomo Kenyatta was President of Kenya.
On December 12, 1963, President Jomo Kenyatta sent a car to pick up a Wa Kirima from the forest to take part in a ceremony where Mau Mau were laying down their arms at Rirungu Stadium, but she rejected him and insisted she will only lead her batallion to the ceremony after seeing the flag of independent Kenya.
Among her conditions was President Jomo Kenyatta assuring her soldiers of safety and land – what had taken them to the forest. Jomo Kenyatta did a lot of convincing and later managed to have her out of the Aberdares forest where she had lived from 1952.
She led the last batch of Mau Mau soldiers to lay down their weapons in the stadium where Kenya was celebrating its independence that 12th December 1963.
However, Jomo Kenyatta would renege on the promise leading to bad blood between Field Marshall Mutjhoni Wa Kirima and the Jomo Kenyatta family.
”Field Marshall Muthoni has forgiven Mama Ngina after Kenyatta failed to keep his promise to Mau Mau. She is lifting the curse that she had put over the Kenyatta family as a Field Marshall. Her reconciliation with Mama Nigina is very symbolic to the family and Mau Mau.”
”In order to bless President Uhuru, she had to shave the 70-year locks. President Uhuru is set to join the Kiama Kia Ma as an elder and lead the Agikuyu community upon retirement. The Agikuyu community cannot be left without a leader when Uhuru leaves Presidency. He is going to lead in a position that Raila as president will recognize,” the source confides to this writer on why Sunday’s event was hugely symbolic.
Unlike the retired President Mwai Kibaki, Uhuru Kenyatta is going to continue as the Agikuyu community’s supreme leader.
During the reconciliation ceremony in Nyeri, Mama Ngina Kenyatta was clad in a red traditional Gikuyu dress.
Reports from some quarters disclose that Uhuru Kenyatta is planning to roll out at Mau Mau Scheme for surviving fighters and their immediate families. A program that will see some get land and others government support. This is part of the bigger national reconciliation and addressing historical injustices under the Handshake.
”The reason we have such divisive politics is because we have never reconciled in minds the values that we hold in common. Culture is just an expression of values. A ‘nation’ is built around common values. The expression of these values is what we practice as culture.
We can have diverse unique expressions of the same values but not a different set of values if the nation stands as one. This is the lie that we tell ourselves. This picture tells the whole story of Kenya. The real identity of Kenya has been hijacked,” another other Kenyan comments.
In a previous interview, Field Marshall Wa Kirima expressed:
”I emerged from the forest after eleven years but was never given even an inch of land. I have nothing to show for those eleven years, not even a needle. It was only the sons of the supporters of the white men who benefited from the blood and sweat of our battered bodies.”
“I am still in the forest,” she says. She wants the “protruding bones of fallen heroes in shallow graves in Mt Kenya forests” collected and buried honorably. The bones of my fellow freedom fighters are, like me, crying in the forests. We ventured into the forests to free the country from the grip of the white settlers. We thought that those we left behind schooling would fight for us, but things turned out differently. ”
This is from a research project by Max Pinckers entitled “Unhistories: Kenya Mau Mau Resistance, Mass Graves and Compensation” published on the Elephant website.
During the ceremony, Mama Ngina said the Mau Mau Field Marshall had asked the surviving freedom fighters to come and witness her shaving. She had vowed the hair would never be cut until Kenya was truly free.
“There is a lot of pain and hurt symbolised in her hair. It stands for sacrifices. She reached out to us, the remnants of the struggle, to come to witness this ceremony. We must remind the future generations of Kenyans about Ms Muthoni’s love and sacrifice for her country, even as we shave her hair. Let her remain respected for what she has done, ” Mama Ngina said on Sunday.