Anxiety, speculations in Nyeri after fall of Mugumo tree

Monday March 20 2017

Residents of Kiamigwi, Nyeri County on March 20, 2017 view a fig tree (Mugumo) that fell on Saturday. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Residents of Kiamigwi, Nyeri County on March 20, 2017 view a fig tree (Mugumo) that fell on Saturday. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GRACE GITAU
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The fall of a Mugumo tree in Nyeri has caused anxiety while triggering speculations on its meaning.

Some residents in Kiamigwi, Mathira constituency where the tree fell have associated the incident with the death of the late governor Nderitu Gachagua who was buried earlier this month.

Mr Charles Gikandi, a resident, said falling of the revered tree symbolised the end of Mr Gachagua’s reign and the beginning of another.

“It shows that the position the late Gachagua held in the county has come to an end. We must prepare ourselves for changes,” he said.

The late had served as the area’s MP before being elected governor earning him the respect of a ruler.

And with the General Election around the corner, Mr Gikandi said that it also meant that those who have held leadership positions for a long time will be kicked out and the youth will succeed them.

But some residents dismissed these arguments as false noting that only the Kikuyu elders could give the true interpretation once they have inspected the scene.

The tree, said to be about 100 years old, considered sacred, fell on Saturday night sparking debate among the locals.

Elders occasionally held prayers at the foot of the tree and offered sacrifices while facing Mount Kenya.

Mr Simon Kariuki told the Nation that God was a sending message to his people to turn away from immorality.

“For such a tree to fall it means that our Maker is not pleased with something we have done,” he said.

Residents who visited the scene immediately the tree fell said they spotted snakes emerging from the hollow sections.

“We spotted at least three snakes slithering around the tree. One was killed but the others disappeared,” said Ms Alice Wanjiku.

Elderly men however warned women against speaking about the tree or idling around the area.

Kikuyu elders will have to conduct rituals around the tree as part of tradition.

Curious residents have been trooping the scene since Sunday.

The famous tree tumbled in the homestead of Mr Maurice Gachamba famous for assembling an aircraft he named Kenya One.