Kikuyu elders interpret diversion of river by fallen Mugumo tree

The elders lead by Muthamaki (King) Dominic Ng'eera sacrificed a ram and held prayers while facing Mt Kenya [Photo:Kipsang Joseph]

Kikuyu Council of Elders (Kiama Kia Ma) has cleansed the Mugumo tree that fell and blocked Likii River in Nanyuki town.

Renowned traditional priest Mathenge Wa Iregi, sprayed the fallen tree with hiriga, a traditional concoction for painting faces of young men in preparation for war and ira, a whitish substance considered sacred and sourced from Mount Kenya forest.

According to the elder, the diversion of Likii River into two streams was a sign of peace and he gave locals free will to dispose of the sacred tree because it is not used for sacrifices.

“I have assessed the situation and I can confirm that no curse or bad luck will befall any of the people who will use it for firewood or any other purposes,” he said.

The falling of a Mugumo tree among the Kikuyu is believed to convey a vital message.

When a Mugumo tree fell in Uasin Gishu County in September this year, the elder noted that it signified peaceful coexistence between the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities.

“That tree fell and rose on the other side of the river to signify the importance of unity between the two communities,” said Iregi, noting that the council of elders conducted ceremonies in Yamumbi and Lemok villages within the county.

Many Mugumo trees have fallen, with the elder noting that a huge tree fell in Thika in 1963, leading to the exit of the colonialists.

“When the British colonial government learned that Mugo wa Kibiru had prophesied their exit, they built an iron ring around it to prevent it from falling. But in 1963, the tree split into two parts. Thereafter Kenya got independence with Jomo Kenyatta as president” said Iregi.

In 1978, another Mugumo tree fell in Chania just before the death of President Jomo Kenyatta and in 1979, a day before JM Kariuki was found dead, another tree fell.

Before former President Mwai Kibaki was handed over power by his predecessor Daniel arap Moi in 2002, a giant Mugumo tree fell followed by heavy rains.

The Kikuyu have always interpreted the resulting events after the falling of the trees as the vital messages.

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