By Bell Pere
When Kenya holds Mashujaa celebrations, the story of Mama Miriam Kisio cannot go untold as she is one of the Maasai women who bravely fought for our independence.
Mama Kisio, was married to late major General Kurito Ole Kisio in 1950 and participated in the Mau Mau struggle for independence with her husband.
They lived at the Olorropil area in the current Narok North Sub County, where Major Ole Kisio was a renowned veteran war hero who participated in the Second World War from 1939 to 1945.
He continued to serve in the British Army until the 1949 when he opted to quit the job and join Mau Mau struggle when it was then a secret organization.
We visited Nyawera at her mud house on a busy street in the Narok town Central Business District.
Now in her late 90’s, Mama Kisio, she slowly and carefully walks out of her mud house using a walking stick and carefully sits beside us.
After a brief introduction through the help of her son, she vividly recalls her struggle for her country to gain independence despite her age.
She recalls that when she got married to General Kisio in 1950’s, her husband was actively involved in Mau Mau activities.
He sensed that his young wife could be in trouble from the colonial movement and took her into hiding in Morijo area of Narok South Sub County.
By the time she was arrested, Mama Kisio was carrying a five months pregnancy of their born son.
She remembers being taken by two police officers (askaris), one black and another white to Narok Prison, then known as ‘jela kubwa’.
She met other people who had been arrested from Nakuru County but all women except her were released after a few days and allowed to go home.
When she was close to giving birth, Mama Kisio was taken to another cell in Narok town, then known as ‘jela ndogo’ where she stayed until she delivered her baby at Narok hospital.
After delivery, her relatives were asked to go and see the baby and also bring her food but her husband never visited her to see their first born son.
While in prison in 1954, she received the sad news that her husband had been killed by the colonial administration.
She remembers being taken to Entara detention camp in Narok but after a while she was transferred to Olokruto detention camp where she was released in 1956.
After jail, Mama Kisio went back to her husband’s home in Olopita where she lived until 1990’s when she was evicted after land subdivison.
She moved to Majengo estate in Narok town with her first born son where she now lives in deplorable condition.
In1995, members of the Mau Mau Veterans Association led by Githu Kahengeri visited her in Narok where she was enrolled as a member.
She says even after joining the Mau Mau group, nothing about her life changed as she continues languishing in poverty as she has never got any financial support.
“I dearly thank our beloved President Uhuru Kenyatta for the cash transfer programme where I am a beneficiary,” said Mama Kisio.
She wants the government to consider the plight of all Mau Mau war veterans who suffered and dedicated their lives for their beloved country.
Her greatest challenge is the extreme poverty she braves in the semi-permanent house at her sons plot in Majengo estate.
Her son Memusi Kisio laments that the family still lives in poverty despite the hardship his parents went through for the country to gain independence.
He says the mother has been narrating to him how she suffered under the colonial government but she has never enjoyed the fruits of independence.