Maathai to be accorded State funeral
The funeral committee has set a tentative burial date of October 11.
Prof Wangari Maathai will be given the ultimate accolade of a State funeral.
President Kibaki also declared Thursday and Friday official days of mourning during which the national flag will fly at half mast.
Consequently, the government has nominated representatives to be incorporated in the family funeral committee to help in the elaborate preparations of a state funeral for the conservation icon and Nobel laureate.
“President Kibaki has declared Thursday September, 29 and Friday September 30, as days of national mourning in honour of the late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai. During the two days, the national flag will fly at half mast,” a statement from State House said.
“President Kibaki has also announced that Prof Wangari Maathai will be accorded a State Funeral,” the statement added.
Prof Maathai, 71, died Sunday night at the Nairobi Hospital after a long battle with ovarian cancer diagnosed in July last year.
She is survived by three children — Waweru, Wanjira, and Muta, and granddaughter Ruth Wangari.
The Nobel laureate led a sustained campaign for environmental conservation, respect for human rights and democratic values, making the Moi regime subject her to frequent arrests, beatings and incarcerations.
In 2004, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize — a first for an African woman.
During a state funeral, the casket bearing the deceased is draped in the Kenyan flag, placed on a stately carriage and escorted by a military platoon.
Before the President’s declaration came, Prof Maathai’s family and the Green Belt Movement, the organisation the Nobel laureate was associated with, said they were still consulting over burial arrangements.
“Consultations are on-going to ensure we provide adequate opportunity for local and international participation in the memorial ceremonies and we will update you in due course,” a statement to media houses said.
At the same time, mourners jammed condolence tents set up in Nairobi and other major towns to pay tribute to Prof Maathai.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka were among prominent personalities who visited the GBM offices Wednesday to pay tribute to the Nobel laureate.
At the Freedom Corner, many stopped by to offer their sympathies and support to the family of Prof Maathai.
A mourner, Mr Albert Murefu, 46, remembered Prof Maathai as a tireless woman who deserves great honour.
Read: About Prof Wangari Maathai