Kimathi grandson ‘struggled to breathe’ before passing on

Teddy Mukaria Githinji (seated, second right) with other environmental champions during a Lamu tour to plant trees before he fell sick and died.


Breathing difficulties were the most visible signs that later led to the death of Teddy Mukaria Githinji, the grandson of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi.

Mr Githinji died on Wednesday at Mpeketoni Hospital in Lamu West where he had been taken for treatment by colleagues.

The environmentalist and dancer had since last week been in Lamu with more than 40 other conservation champions from Nairobi and Nakuru, for tree planting to mark his 25th birthday on Sunday.

Group leader Dickson Maina said Mr Githinji and his friends took supper and alcohol before retiring to their rooms around 10pm on Tuesday.

“I was woken up by friends about 1.20am. They said Githinji had difficulties in breathing. I immediately went to his room and found him lying in his bed and in a very bad state—struggling to breathe. We rushed him to Siha Hospital within Mpeketoni, but doctors there advised us to take him to Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital,” narrated Mr Maina.

 “On reaching the sub-county hospital, doctors took charge, observed him, and minutes later, they came and informed us that our friend had passed on. We were shocked.”

The body was immediately airlifted to Nairobi’s Lee Funeral Home where a post-mortem is expected to take place at any time to ascertain the exact cause of death. His burial is set for next Wednesday.

The team had already planted over 10,000 trees in Witu and Mpeketoni, with the initial target being at least 30,000 trees by the time of Teddy’s death.

The trees had been donated by the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) and the Kenya Forest Research Institute (Kefri) and were intended to be planted in various police stations, and about 26 public schools in Witu and Mpeketoni divisions of Lamu County.

Lamu Conservator Peter Mwangi termed the death a blow to conservation. He was the only son of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi’s daughter, Evelyn Wanjugu, who is the CEO of Dedan Kimathi Foundation.

At the time of his death, Mr Githinji was pursuing a Diploma in Hospitality and Hotel Management at NIBS College.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is among Kenyans who condoled with the Kimathi family following Mr Githinji’s death. In a statement, he eulogised Mr Githinji as a focused and productive person of great promise, adding he will fondly be remembered as an outstanding and gifted role model to the youth.

“My family and I share in the pain of your shattering loss. At barely 25 years, Teddy was a young, focused and productive person of great promise. He was equally a talented young man with a passion for environmental conservation.  His death is a big blow to Dedan Kimathi's family and I pray that God gives them comfort during this difficult period," the President said.

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