Residents watch the smouldering remains of Mugumo tree that was struck by thunder and lightning at Kiaguthu village in Kiharu.Photo: Mark Wachira
Giant mugumo tree falls and mysteriously catches fire in Murang’a
The fig tree fell after being struck by lightening on a night of heavy rainfall – It caught fire and continued to burn in the heavy rain surprising many in Murang’a – Elders have associated the fall to the death of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba – Kikuyu elders always liken the fall of a mugumo tree to either something good or bad – Mugumu trees are considered highly sacred among the Kikuyu community A giant Mugumo tree was struck by lightning at Kiaguthu village, Murang’a county on Friday, April 13, and immediately caught fire. The fire mysteriously defied a heavy downpour and continued consuming the sacred Kikuyu tree for three days. TUKO.co.ke visited the scene on Sunday, April 15, and found embers from the tree still smoldering as curious onlookers watched from a distance.
The falling of the tree has been linked to the death of veteran politician Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba who was once a Member of Parliament for the area. Joe Kanguchu who is a member of Kikuyu Council of Elders and previously the organinsing secretary general of Saba Saba Asili political party, whose chairman was Matiba, equated the death of the multiparty democracy icon to the falling of the tree. “Mugumo trees survive even under very harsh environmental conditions the way the late Matiba survived the torture meted on him by the KANU government in detention that took toll on his health for advocating multi-partyism. The continuous burning of the tree signifies that his legacy lives even in death,” Kanguchu told TUKO.co.ke
Similar sentiments were expressed by elders Serah Waithera and Joram Chege who said they had never experienced such a happening with the latter calling on other Kikuyu elders to shed light on the rare occurrence and if need be, conduct a cleansing ceremony. The tree fell at the home of Loise Wairimu during a heavy downpour on the night of Friday, barely five days after another 100-year-old mugumo tree fell in Gatundu. Wairimu recounted hearing a deafening sound of thunder accompanied by lightning and when she looked out the window, she saw a huge fire having engulfed the tree. Her son Samuel Irungu Mwangi explained he was woken up by the loud sound and bang and concluded the thunder and lightning had struck an object. “I came out of the house to check but I ran back to the house after I spotted the tree was burning and as a family, we were very terrified and did not sleep a wink,
Chebukati and co must now resign from IEBC within the next 7 days – Kenyans react “It is common for thunder and lightning to strike trees but it is unheard of for trees to burn when struck. Mugumo trees are sacred and we are torn between if it a bad omen or a blessing and we have been left asking hard questions,” he said. The two said had the thunder hit their houses, they would all have been reduced to ashes due to the intensity of the fire. “The fact that the tree was not dry and continues to burn tells you the fire is strong and has not been extinguished by the heavy rains,” they said. Story by Mark Wachira- Murang’a county correspondent.
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