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State Funerals in Kenya 1963-2020: The Need to Constitutionalize and Africanize State Funerals (Published)

State Funeral refers to the last farewell ceremony that a state accords her Statesmen and women when they die. According to Wikipedia, it is a public ceremony observing strict rules of protocol, held in honour of heads of State or other people of national importance. In Kenya, there have been five deaths that have received this kind of ceremony. The first case was in 1978, when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta (First President of the Republic of Kenya) passed on. Kenyatta was buried in a ceremony that was largely foreign controlled. Traditional African burial practices had very little to do with the entire process. Mzee Kenyatta’s State Funeral was followed by Michael Wamalwa’s death in 2003. Contrary to the expectation of many Kenyans, Wamalwa’s ceremony failed to match that of  Mzee Kenyatta .This trend of conducting State Funerals that lack uniformity continued through Prof. Wangari Maathai, Lucy Kibaki to the last case of  Daniel Moi,2020. State Funerals, being foreign practice has continued to raise more questions than answers among Kenya Africans. The purpose of this paper is to compile one chronological detailed document of State Funerals, bringing out similarities and differences in the way they are conducted. To avoid the differences, the researcher advocates for full Constitutionalization and Africanization of the ceremonies. Constitutionalization is based on Article 119(1) of Laws of Kenya and is a silent call to the legislators to rise up to the occasion. The argument for the application of Africanization of state funerals is premised on Julius Nyerere’s theory of African socialism. The scope of the research is 1963-2020.Although the first case in Kenya occurred in 1978, its preparation started earlier in the 1960s. This study heavily relied on library information with limited oral interviews. Being a descriptive research, information collected was analyzed using thematic analysis method.

Keywords: Africanization, Constitutionalism, Mzee., lie in State, military honour, state funeral