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March 24, 2018

Elders to make sacrifices as Mugumo likely to fall in Kiambu

Residents watch the Mugumo tree at Kambaa in Githunguri constituency./GEORGE MUGO
Residents watch the Mugumo tree at Kambaa in Githunguri constituency./GEORGE MUGO

Residents of Mukuyu village in Kambaa, Githunguri, are spending sleepless nights after a sacred Mugumo tree cracked and started falling towards their houses.

The tree is about to fall, barely three days after another Mugumo tree fell in Nyeri and caused panic among the residents.

Traditionally, the falling of a Mugumo tree is interpreted as a bad omen for the community. It can also be interpreted as a sign that a major change is in the offing.

In Githunguri, Kiambu county, residents said the tree is at the side of the road and might fall on electricity wires and cross the road too.

They say it could be more than 300 years old.

Resident Esther Wambui, a mother of three, says the tree might fall on her house and others in their compound.

She said they switch off electricity at the main switch both day and night for fear of the tree's branches falling and the power lines causing havoc.

“We are living in fear ... Our children can't sleep. I can’t sleep, so that I can be alert to save them,” Wambui said.

She added that when it is windy, the tree makes a noise similar to that of a heavy object falling.

Wambui's neighbour, village elder Peter Kamau, said the tree's branches fell last year and were left at the spot they fell.

The 70-year-old man said the sacred tree behaves like that when the society has committed a sin, and only the Council of Elders can make sacred sacrifices to cleanse the community.

“This is a sacred tree and no one can cut its branches, nor can its branches to be used as firewood,” Kamau said.

“God is angry and people need to seek forgiveness.”

Kikuyu Council of Elders Kiambu secretary Muchai Muiruri said the council has been informed and is planning to hold a prayer ceremony to prevent losses.

He said consultations had started to get advice on how to cleanse the society.

“We want to protect the society’s property like houses, electricity and the road being closed. We want the elders to advice the council on how to prune it or cut it down and the way to go,” Muiruri said.

Residents said they had instructed Kenya Power to remove the electricity lines from that area, and reconnect them through another road.

Read: Fear in Nyeri after mugumo tree topples

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