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Njoroge Wa Karatu Installed as King of the Agikuyu amid Pomp and Splendor.

Njoroge Wa Karatu being crowned the muthamaki (king) of the Agikuyu community in a colourful ceremony in Thika on Saturday. 
In a stupendous and ancient ceremony, Njoroge Wa Karatu was crowned muthamaki (king) of the Agikuyu people in Kenya on Saturday, at an elaborate ceremony attended by hundreds of Agikuyu tribesmen. Traditional music and rituals were instrumental in marking the key proceedings of the installation.

In a ceremony held at Jogoo Kimakia hotel in Thika, Wa Karatu now becomes the 3rd ‘muthamaki’ in the independent Kenyan history, ending a hiatus caused by a succession dispute. This may herald a new era of upheaval amongst the Agikuyu community and the country political system as a whole.

The first president of the Republic of Kenya Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the first Kenyan to be installed as a muthamaki with Mwangi Wa Thuita being the second person to be bestowed such honours.

On accepting his coronation, Muthamaki Njoroge Wa Karatu, who is the current chairperson of Kikuyu Elders Welfare Association (KEWA), told guests that as traditional leaders, they had a key role to play in democratic Kenya.

Njoroge appealed to the members of the Kikuyu community to get back to their roots as this was their only hope to prosperous community. He promised to execute his responsibilities with diligence and ensure justice prevailed in all aspects of life and at all times. 

“My first responsibility as the muthamaki is to unite the Agikuyu community and reconcile our leaders especially at this time when the community is so divided as a result of the just concluded party primaries. This will begin by reconciling our leaders in Kiambu County,” said Wa Karatu.

He added that they would, as a priority, work to restore the dignity of the boy-child especially among the Agikuyu Community where this menace has destroyed many homes.

To be installed as a muthamaki one has to have undergone all the Kikuyu rites of passage and sacrifices. They too must be of good moral standings in the society as, among other roles, is to adjudicate disputes and unite together the society.

“These are the spiritual elders of the Agikuyu community who are called upon to appease ‘Mwene Nyaga’ (God) whenever calamities befall the community. They are also the ones who bless (and even curse) members of the Agikuyu community. Karatu is now our paramount chief who the community will look up to whenever we are aggrieved or need guidance on any aspect of life,” said Samuel Katiba Nyanja, one of the four recognised Kikuyu spiritual leaders.

Wa Karatu is now one step away from being installed as the most high priest (muthuri wa matura nguru), a position that no other Kenyan has ever attained.

“To attain this rank, one has to undergo very intense devotion and spiritual test. The only person who has neared that in Muthamaki Njathi Wa Mbatia. He is the spiritual leader who is called up on to talk to Mwene Nyaga on behalf of the community,” said Nyanja.
Njoroge doing some traditional dance after his coronation as a muthamaki wa Agikuyu.

During the ceremony, a colobus monkey’s skin (githii) was laid across Njoroge Wa Karatu’s shoulders and he was presented with a symbolic stick, flywhisk, a sword, a spear and a shield, making him the official king of the Agikuyu, the country's biggest ethnic group.

Traditional monarchs have no formal power in Kenya, but they command strong tribal loyalty among millions of people and are recognised under the 2010 constitution.

Many at the colourful event were dressed in extravagant outfits, including feathered headdresses, beaded necklaces and traditional skirts. 

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