The widow of renowned Kenyan freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi, Mukami Kimathi, passed away at the age of 96 on Friday, May 6, 2023, at Nairobi Hospital. Her daughter, Everlyne Kimathi, confirmed the news, adding that her mother had been admitted to the hospital the previous night due to breathing complications.
In a poignant revelation, Everlyne shared that her mother’s dying wish was for her husband’s remains to be exhumed from Kamiti Maximum Prison and granted a state burial in a more dignified location. Dedan Kimathi, a key figure in Kenya’s struggle for independence, was executed by hanging at the prison on February 18, 1957.
The exact location of Kimathi’s grave remains unknown, though it is believed to be somewhere within the prison grounds. In 2020, a former prison warder, Samuel arap Toroitich, came forward claiming that he was among the six officers responsible for burying Kimathi in 1957. He expressed his willingness to help the family locate the grave, but the government has yet to fulfill Mukami’s longstanding request for exhumation and reburial.
Toroitich, who hails from Nakuru, recounted that he and five other non-Kikuyu wardens were specifically chosen for the task of burying Kimathi in secrecy. Contrary to official accounts, Toroitich claimed that Kimathi was not hanged but rather shot and then taken to the hanging room on the day of his execution.
Throughout the years, Mukami Kimathi and her family have repeatedly implored the Kenyan government to help locate and exhume Dedan Kimathi’s remains so that he may be laid to rest with the honor he deserves. Despite the lack of progress on this front, Mukami’s memory will live on through her advocacy for her husband’s legacy.
Mukami had been struggling with her health for some time, and her medical bills were previously covered by the intervention of prominent politicians, including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. Her daughter, Everlyne, announced that Mukami will be buried in her Njabini home in Nyandarua County.