The photographic image of Elizabeth Wangui Kimunya remains firmly etched on the memories of Kenyans, and at least all who witnessed the catastrophic post-election violence in 2007-2008.
During the height of Kenya’s dark chapter, arsonists attacked a Kenya Assemblies’ of God’s church hall, burning at least 28 people. The image of Elizabeth Wangui Kimunya, with her hands up and in a visibly vulnerable position, has permanently taken the place of photographic reminder on the disastrous chaos that almost broke Kenya.
Indeed, she has bravely borne the trauma associated with the Kiambaa event up until July 6th, when she finally made a bow from the face of the earth.
Apparently, Ms. Kimunya had, on the fateful day in 2008, went out to fend for her son, Philip Kimunya, who was aged 16 then.
Rift Valley was the hot spot of the 2007-2008 post-election violence which left more than more than 1,133 people dead and more than 600,000 others displaced from their homes.
Ms. Kimunya’s image has been widely used by Kenyans to serve as a reference of how the country sank during the political power struggle, about a decade ago. Indeed, it is a permanent feature on Kenya’s bibliography as patriots serve to use her picture to rally calls for a united nation.
Today, online platforms were awash with mixed feelings as people reflected on the place of the image on Kenya’s history, and direction. While some called for a sense of forgiveness and ‘moving on’, others urged Kenyans to remain wary of Kenyan politicians.
Elizabeth Wangari Kimunya will be buried on Friday, July 12th at her in Naivasha.