Kenya has begun a month of national mourning for the late President Jomo Kenyatta who died in his sleep on Tuesday (22 August).
Kenya has begun a month of national mourning for the late President Jomo Kenyatta who died in his sleep on Tuesday (22 August). Thousands of people massed in the grounds of the State House in Nairobi on Thursday (24 August) to pay their last respects, and several were injured when police with batons restrained the surging crowds. Order was swiftly restored as police organised the mourners into long queues.
SYNOPSIS: President Kenyatta's body will remain at the State House until his funeral next Thursday (31 August). The arrangements for the burial were decided on Wednesday (23 August) at a Cabinet meeting chaired by the interim President, Daniel Arap Moi. The Ministers ordered the cancellation of all public meetings for a month, and places of entertainment will not reopen until after the funeral.
One of Africa's most respected elder statesmen, Jomo Kenyatta was President of Kenya for 14 years, drawing his country's various tribes together and achieving economic prosperity.
Kenyatta's widow, Mama Ngina, dressed in a black and white patterned dress, sat with a group of close relatives as weeping Kenyan leaders paid their last tributes to the late president.
Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, and foreign diplomats filed past the body which was dressed in a Western suit with the famous fly whisk, his traditional symbol, at his side. After the dignitaries came members of the public. The State House will remain open until the funeral to allow people to pay their respects.
Ironically, Jomo Kenyatta had never stayed at the white mansion during his lifetime, preferring his official residences in Mombasa and Nakuru. When in Nairobi, he normally stayed at his village birthplace north of the city.
President Kenyatta's funeral will be held at the Parliament Building in Nairobi and his final resting place will be in a special mausoleum now being built in the grounds.