Matiba to be cremated as he wished

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President Uhuru Kenyatta visiting Matiba in hospital. /FILE/ THE STAR KENYA

The late Kenneth Matiba will be cremated and not buried, seemingly in keeping in line with his wishes to his family back in 1994.

It has emerged that the multiparty democracy champion also never wished to be accorded a state funeral upon his death.

In an article by a local daily dated February 8, 1994, Matiba is quoted as saying he had instructed his family to cremate him and not bury him because he does not want “dancing parties and Harambees” when he dies.

“After all, the Kikuyu traditionally never buried their dead. They used to take the bodies into the forest to be devoured by hyenas. Was that not wisdom,” he poses.

Matiba is further quoted saying he should not be accorded a state funeral when he dies.

He said only Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta deserved a state funeral.

“All other people, including me, should be buried by their families when they die.”

Read: Joseph Kinyua to head Matiba’s funeral committee

Matiba reasoned that if all leaders were accorded state funerals, there would be no space left for development.

The debate was ignited by the state funeral that Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was accorded on February 5, 1994 at his home in Kang’o Ka Jaramogi, Bondo.

According to the article, Matiba believed Kenyans had adopted a bad habit of making a big issue out of death.

He also questioned the rationale behind fundraising when someone dies while no one helped the person while he was alive.

“If a man was not assisted while he was alive, why should people raise funds for him after he dies. Has Odinga only become important after his death,” he asked.

Meanwhile, head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua was on Monday appointed by the government to chair the funeral committee for the late veteran politician.

Matiba, 85, died at the Karen Hospital last Sunday from cardiac arrest.

Two public funeral services will be held for him next week.

The first will take place at All Saints Cathedral Church in Nairobi on Wednesday while the second will take place at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a town on Thursday.

More: Public funeral services for Matiba set for Nairobi and Murang’a