Long time ago, Kikuyu prophet Mugo wa Kibiru prophesied that the fall of a giant Mugumo tree in Thika would symbolize the end of European rule in Kenya. When the British Colonial government learnt of the prophesy, they built an iron ring around it to prevent it from falling. In 1963 however, the tree split and fell in two stages. That same year, Kenya gained independence and Kenyatta became president.
The prophesy had come to pass.
This is an election year, and a strange thing has just happened in Nyeri’s Giakanja Village. Following heavy rains pounding the area, a huge Mugumo tree believed to be 300 years old has fallen. The tree split into two, which elders believe to be symbolic.
According to Kikuyu traditions, Mugumo trees are not supposed to be cut, and were used as venues during the performance of certain religious ceremonies, eg offering sacrifices and prayers. When such trees fell due to natural occurrences, they were supposed to be left to rot. If such a tree was cut down, another one was to be planted on the same point, to avoid a curse falling on the Kikuyu community.
Whether Kikuyu elders will continue with this tradition will have to be seen. In the meantime, the falling of the tree in Nyeri has been interpreted prophetically.
Asked what this means for the country, a villager who appeared to be conversant with Kikuyu culture said that it indeed pointed towards some occurrences in the upcoming elections.
The phenomenon of a Mugumo tree falling and splitting into two is known as ‘Ituika’ in Kikuyu, and according to Harrison Kanyuguto who spoke to NTV, it symbolizes the transition of old leadership to new and younger leadership. He said that if such an event happens, those currently in leadership positions, if they are old, leave power for the young.
Mugo wa Kibiru’s prophesy had also signified a transition in the country’s leadership. Should Kanyuguto be believed, Uhuru Kenyatta may well be Kenya’s next president by virtue of his being young, and in a better position to ascend to power than his younger competitors eg. Peter Kenneth.
However, another theory advanced by some villagers say that the fact that the tree split into two, signify the split of the Kikuyu vote in the coming elections. This possibly brings into account the candidature of Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua.
Yet another theory is that the tree falling in Nyeri, means that Kibaki’s term has come to an end, the same way the colonial government’s ‘term’ came to an end. The current president is from Nyeri.
However some people believe that the tree fell because its time had come, and that it carries no significance whatsoever. They are quick to call those of a contrary opinion superstitious.
Below is the news piece by NTV.