Since the country gained independence in 1963, only four Kenyans have been granted state funerals, with the fifth set to be the second President of the republic Daniel arap Moi, who passed on on February 4, 2020.
A state funeral is defined as a public ceremony observing strict rules and protocols held to honour heads of state or other people of national significance.
During a state funeral, some of the events expected to take place include the flying of flags at half-mast, including the military flags.
A recipient of a state funeral is also allowed full military honors including a gun salute after the body has been lowered to the grave.
Another component is that after such a high profile death, it is solely the duty of the sitting president to announce the demise of the individual.
Such funerals are also keen on attracting media attention globally and an outpouring of important dignitaries from across the world.
Here are four significant Kenyans who have been honoured with a state funeral.
According to a report published by the Daily Nation on October 7, 2011, Wangari Maathai was only the third Kenyan to be accorded a state funeral since independence.
Going down in history as the first African woman to win a Nobel prize, the demise of the activist, academic and politician was a big blow to the world in entirety.
Described by a British publication, The Guardian as a woman of firsts, Mathai won a scholarship to study in the US and became the first woman in East and Central Africa to obtain a PhD.
She was also the first woman professor at the University of Nairobi, where she taught veterinary medicine.
She succumbed to cancer on September 25, 2011, at the Nairobi Hospital.
Mama Lucy Kibaki
Mama Lucy Kibaki, wife to the former President Mwai Kibaki passed on on April 26, 2016, at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London.
Having been known as a fiery first lady who kept government leaders on their toes and fiercely protected her family, Lucy had made friends and enemies in the political sphere.
She had been ill for the last ten years of her life, with reports indicating that she had been confined to a wheelchair for the most part of her final days.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto led other dignitaries including First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in eulogising the former first lady whom they described as a loving mother, a role model, and a mentor.
The ceremony was conducted at Othaya Approved School before a private burial ceremony in her Othaya home.
Michael Kijana Wamalwa
Kijana Wamalwa, Kenya’s eighth vice president, passed on at the age of 59 on August 23, 2003, at the Royal Free Hospital in London from kidney failure.
Having kickstarted his political career in 1974, Wamalwa rode through the political ranks leading to his appointment as Vice President by President Mwai Kibaki in 2002.
This was after the success of the opposition National Rainbow Coalition led by Kibaki, against Moi’s Kenya African National Union in presidential, parliamentary and local council elections held on December 27, 2002.
He, however, fell ill in mid-2003 and was taken to London, where he made a brief recovery to get married to Yvonne Wamalwa in the same year, a union that barely lasted a year.
President Kibaki broke the news of his death to the shocked republic in August 2003 and eulogised Wamalwa as a revolutionary leader and a good friend.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta
Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta passed on on August 22, 1978.
According to a report by the Daily Nation in 2011, Kenyatta’s funeral was rated one of the most colourful ever in the world.
His body lay in state for 10 days and the national mourning lasted one month in a ceremony befitting the country’s first leader.
On the day of his burial, the casket was wheeled from State House through the streets of Nairobi to the mausoleum by the same gun carriage used at the 1965 funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain’s World War II Prime Minister.
He was buried at the marble mausoleum at Parliament Buildings to reflect his national stature and to also honour Parliament.
His funeral was attended by representatives of 82 nations, including 11 heads of state and government.