Kimathi Statue defaced in Nairobi

A monument built in honour of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi has been defaced by leaflets denigrating his legacy. The authors of the leaflets are as yet unknown.

Statue of Dedan Kimathi showing anonymous posters placed on the night of 20 - 21st August, 2009

The base of Dedan Kimathi's monument showing leaflets placed on the night of 20 - 21st August, 2009

The leaflets read: DEAR GOD, PLEASE REMOVE SUCH DEFILEMENT.

The leaflets were placed on the night of 20 – 21st August. By this evening (21st August), neither the Nairobi City Council nor the Kenya Police had removed the offending posters. Kimathi’s statue is sealed off and it would have been difficult for anyone else to be seen jumping over the barriers to remove the leaflets.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for this action but Mau Mau still remains a controversial era in Kenya’s history. 60 years after British forces defeated Mau Mau, and 45 years after Kenya’s independence, opinion is split over whether to regard Mau Mau as liberation heroes or simply terrorists.

Kenya’s plunge into ethnic-driven politics has not made matters any easier. The fact that Mau Mau was dominated by the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru ethnic groups has raised further controversy regarding the intepretation of Kenya’s history.

Dedan Kimathi was a Mau Mau leader, who rose to the rank of Field Marshall. He was captured by British colonial forces and executed on 18th February 1957. His remains have never been traced. The Kimathi monument was erected on Kimathi Street, Nairobi to commemorate 50 years of his execution.

Many of the Africans that collaborated with British forces in defeating Mau Mau took over the reigns of power after independence. They remain extremely influential in Kenyan politics and probably see the erection of Kimathi’s statue as an insult.

Update August 23:

It is Saturday and the leaflets are yet to be removed. It has been more than 24 hours since they first appeared at the base of the monument.

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