In Summary
  • In the Kiambaa church attack, at least 28 people were burnt to death.
  • Wangui has been living with the traumatising memories for more than a decade.
  • Ms Kimunya passed on at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital on July 6, 2019.

After the January 1, 2008 arson attack at the Assemblies of God Church in Kiambaa, Eldoret, she became the face of the 2007-2008 post-election chaos.

This was after the photo of her pleading for mercy, with her hands held up, and with one shoe in hand, went viral.

In the Kiambaa church attack, at least 28 people were burnt to death.

After living with the traumatising memories for more than a decade, the curtains have finally come down on Elizabeth Wangui Kimunya, 76, following a long illness.

BURIAL PLANS

When the Nation team visited Ms Kimunya’s home some metres away from Kiambaa church on Thursday, plans were underway for her burial, which is slated for Friday, with neighbours streaming in to condole with the family.

Ms Kimunya passed on at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) last Saturday (July 6) of what doctors described as tumours in her stomach and depression.

Neighbours who spoke to the Nation said that the dark day of January 1, 2008 changed Ms Kimunya life forever.

DEPRESSED

“She became totally depressed since the fire incident and she has not been herself since then. She has been depending on her relatives for everything since then and has been suffering from nightmares since the fire incident,” said Veronica Wangui, a neighbour.

Apparently, Ms Kimunya had, on the fateful day in 2008, gone out to fend for her son, Philip Kimunya, who was aged 16 then.

“She was very stressed on learning that her son was in the burnt church. Though the boy was later found recovering from the fire injuries at MTRH, his mother never recovered from the ordeal until her demise,” said Rebecca Wanjiru, another neighbour.

ETHNIC CONFLICT

They faulted politicians in the country who have been fuelling ethnic conflict by making divisive remarks which risk plunging the country into chaos.

“We are yet to recover from the scars of the 2007-2008 post-election chaos. We are surprised to hear some politicians making reckless statements. During such instances, women and children suffer the most,” said Ms Wanjiru.

“Let’s reason as Kenyans and avoid divisive politics. We are now mourning alone. Had it been a politician who had died, we would be having a lot of vehicles here,” added Ms Wangui, whose husband, Samuel Kiungu, was killed in the post-election violence.

HARDWORKING WOMAN

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