Kenya to hold state funeral for Nobel winner Maathai

The east African country declared Thursday and Friday national days of mourning in honour of Maathai, 71, who won the prize in 2004 for her battle to defend women's rights and protect the country's environment.

Kenya to hold state funeral for Nobel winner Maathai

Kenya will hold a state funeral for Wangari Maathai, Africa's first woman Nobel peace laureate, who died on Sunday of cancer, an official statement said on Wednesday.

The east African country declared Thursday and Friday national days of mourning in honour of Maathai, 71, who won the prize in 2004 for her battle to defend women's rights and protect the country's environment.

"President (Mwai) Kibaki has also announced that Prof. Wangari Maathai will be accorded a state funeral," the Presidential Press Service statement said. It did not give a date for the funeral.

Maathai, 71, founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 to plant trees to prevent environmental and social conditions deteriorating and harming poor people, especially women, living in rural Kenya.

Her movement expanded in the 1980s and 1990s to embrace wider campaigns for social, economic and political change, setting her on a collision course with the government of President Daniel arap Moi.

She also had several clashes with the government in her fight for the release of political prisoners.

She had to endure being whipped, tear-gassed and threatened with death for her devotion to Africa's forests and her desire to end the corruption that often spells their destruction.

Reuters

Last Mod: 28 Eylül 2011, 17:42
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