Nationalist Pio Gama Pinto's widow dies in Canada

Emma Gama Pinto, Pio Gama Pinto

Emma Pinto. The widow of slain Kenyan nationalist Pio Gama Pinto has died in Ottawa, Canada.

Photo credit: Benegal Pereira

 Emma Gama Pinto, 92, the widow of slain Kenyan nationalist Pio Gama Pinto is dead.

Emma, as she was popularly known, left the country for Canada in 1960s after her husband was shot dead in Nairobi, the first assassination after independence.

Before he was shot on February 24, 1965, Mr Pinto, an avowed communist, was a member of parliament. Although police arrested Kisilu Mutua and charged him with the murder, it was felt that the plot was larger than an ordinary murder.

Mr Mutua was found guilty and was released after 35 years in prison through a presidential pardon.  And thus, the killers of the 38 year-old legislator was never known.

Emma had arrived in Kenya in 1953, at a time when the country going through political upheaval following the Mau Mau insurgence.  Despite that, she got married to Pinto, a journalist, on January 9, 1954, and at the height of the State of Emergency.

But Pinto was not an ordinary journalist in Nairobi. Emma would later learn that Pinto was a socialist and he asked him.  Six months after the wedding and as the crackdown of Mau Mau members continued in Kenya, Mr Pinto was arrested and detained. As a Goan, the arrest of Pinto was rather surprising since majority of those arrested were either Kikuyu, Embu and Meru.