, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Relatives and friends turned up in great numbers on Saturday for the burial of murdered lawyer Willie Kimani at his Mai-a-ihii home in Kikuyu.
Those who attended the burial included Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero and prominent lawyer Paul Muite as well as Members of Parliament.
Lawyers who paid tribute to Kimani described him as an example in courage and vowed that his good works would not be forgotten.
“Willie was a friend and mentor to me. He will be truly missed. What happened to him is an indication that the legal profession is the most dangerous but we will never relent in our quest for justice,” Lawyer Wilson Kihanda said.
Another lawyer, Nathan Mbugua, remembered him this way: “Kimani took his work seriously. He did not flinch, he did not hesitate, he did not run. Such was his courage, such was his strength. Willy Kimani was a lion of the first order.”
Mbugua encouraged lawyers countrywide to take in pro bono cases as a way of emulating the example of the slain lawyer so that his memory is not forgotten.
“It is terrible to know that people can be abducted, tortured and killed by police in this day and age. Today we must make sure that we live up to our legal profession. That is what Willie Kimani did. We have a responsibility to ensure that custodians of the law do not turn on their charges,” he said.
The late Kimani’s colleagues at the International Justice Mission (IJM) said his death has lit a fire against extra-judicial killings which would never be snuffed out.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, Kenya County Director Clair Wilkinson described him as a tenacious person who lived up to his calling.
“Willy lived a large full life. He has run the race and has gained the price. Willie was absolutely certain that he had a God given call to serve the cause of justice, a call that he shared with his IJM family,” she said.
Wilkinson also eulogised his vivacious nature saying that he used to, “fire up,” his colleagues with his competitive nature.
“Willie lived up to what he believed in and fought for it every day. It was such a joy to work with him. Our heart break at losing Willie is very real and very raw. But Willie has set a fire in us. A fire that is burning bright across Kenya, a fire for justice,” she said.
She went on to say that Kimani was a person who went over and above what was required of him and that is what made him very passionate.
“It is our responsibility now to ensure that the fire will not go out. We promise Willie that we will fan the flames until every police officer who abuses his or her power has their deeds brought out from the darkness into the light and is held accountable.”
Kimani went missing on June 23 together with his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
The three were abducted on their way from the Mavoko Law Court where Kimani represented Mwenda in a court case involving an Administration Police officer who is now among the four suspected of being behind their murders.
The bodies of the three were found in the Ol Donyo Sabuk river a week after they went missing in mutilated condition.