Kenya to accord Laureate Maathai State burial

September 28, 2011 2:51 pm
VP Musyoka (seated) L-R Ministers Bett, Balala and Wetangula sign condolence book

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 28 – Kenya will accord Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai a State funeral, President Mwai Kibaki said on Wednesday.

The president also declared Thursday and Friday (September 29 and 30) as national days of mourning in honour of the late environmentalist who died on Sunday night.

“During the two days the national flag will fly at half mast,” a statement from the Presidential Press Service said.

Prof Maathai’s family is yet to settle on a funeral date and the government has nominated its representatives to join the family funeral committee.

The family is still consulting on how she will be interred, considering she was an ardent opposer to the use of wood for caskets.

Family spokesperson Vertistine Mbaya said on Tuesday that they were looking into how the late Nobel Laureate would be interred without using wood.

“She was one of those who did say that we better think of something else besides cutting down trees for caskets so we will try to circumvent using wooden coffins,” she said.

She announced that prayers and celebration of Maathai’s life would start on Wednesday at St Andrews Church, while on Friday there will be a special ceremony to celebrate her at the same church.

Maathai died on Sunday night at the age of 71 following a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer, a type of cancer that arises from the ovary. It normally occurs in women over the age of 50.

She leaves behind three adult children and a granddaughter.


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