Nobel laureate Maathai to be cremated as per will, family says

Wangari Maathai will be cremated and her remains interred as per her last wishes, her family and Govt announced on Monday.

The funeral committee said the late Nobel laureate had in her will expressed the wish to be cremated and her remains interred "within the democratic space of the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi".

She will be cremated at the Kariokor crematorium in Nairobi.

Prof Maathai, the 2004 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, died on September 25, 2011 at the Nairobi Hospital after a long fight with ovarian cancer. (READ: Wangari Maathai dies in Nairobi)

She was eulogised by leaders from across the world and Kenya announced that she will be honoured with a state funeral.

At a press conference, Prof Vertistine Mbaya, the treasurer of the Greenbelt Movement Board said that they would stick to what she had wanted for her burial.

“Prof Maathai stated her wish to be cremated upon her death in adherence to her wishes, we have made arrangements for a private funeral service on Saturday, October 8, 2011,” she said.

Public viewing

In the official funeral ceremony, the cortege will be taken to Nairobi’s Uhuru Park Freedom Corner for public viewing and tree planting ceremony by the Kenya Defence Forces.

This will be followed by a nationwide planting of about 5,000 trees in her honour.

“Members of the public are welcome to pay their last respects at Freedom Corner and along the route from Lee Funeral Home to Kariokor,” she added.

The Government said it would support the programme by providing security and transport.

Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia told reporters that it would allow her family to control the service.