, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – Come Sunday morning, all Kenyan flags will fly at half mast – an illustration that Kenya is mourning the loss of an iconic person in the country’s history.
It will also be in honour and celebration of a legacy of a woman recognised for her commitment to fight for women and children and her contribution to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.
On Tuesday, poignant news spread like wild fire on dry grass… that the third First Lady Lucy Muthoni Kibaki had passed away in London while undergoing treatment.
- Following the demise of Lucy Kibaki, the government formed a national working committee made up former President Mwai Kibaki's family and government officials.
- The committee will be in charge of the burial arrangements and the programme that will be followed prior to and during the burial.
- At such funerals, the casket draped in a Kenyan flag is usually placed on a stately prepared carriage usually lifted by a military platoon that observe high standards of the military discipline.
Days earlier, Lucy had been flown to London for further treatment; sadly, at the age of 82, she departed this life.
The government has announced that Lucy will receive an ultimate accolade of a State funeral.
Kenyans led by top government officials will on Sunday gather to a solemn mood at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to receive her remains.
The country will mourn for three days during which flags will fly at half mast.
For a State funeral, members of the public are usually invited to sign condolence books at different public locations.
According to Government Spokesman, Erick Kiraithe, condolence books will be placed at Consolata Shrine (which was Lucy’s routine church), Holy Family Basilica, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Parliament and at the headquarters of all the 47 counties.
It will be the first time in the history of Kenya that a wife to a former Head of State will receive a state funeral.
Lucy Kibaki will also be the second woman in the history of Kenya to receive a State funeral.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist the late Prof Wangari Maathai was accorded a State funeral in respect and recognition for her role in conserving the environment.
Being a staunch environmentalist, it was her wish not to be buried in a coffin (usually made of wood).
Her remains were instead kept in a bamboo-frame coffin, made of water hyacinth and papyrus reeds wrapped with a Kenyan flag.
Her body was later cremated as per her wish.
Draping a coffin carrying a body of the deceased with a Kenyan flag is another characteristic of a state funeral.
A State funeral translates to a public ceremony organised by the government which is prepared to adhere to a setup of rules.