What the elaborate military rituals around Kibaki’s final journey symbolize

What the elaborate military rituals around Kibaki’s final journey symbolize

  • From a stately gun carriage to an elaborate military procession, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are giving the country a glimpse into some of the most exclusive traditions of the military in the days leading up to Kibaki’s burial on Saturday.

For the third time in the history of Kenya, the military is rolling out a full-scale State funeral honors, this time for the third President of the Republic of Kenya, Emilio Mwai Kibaki who died last week aged 90. 

From a stately gun carriage to an elaborate military procession, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are giving the country a glimpse into some of the most exclusive traditions of the military in the days leading up to Kibaki’s burial on Saturday.


The gun carrier, for instance, is a special vehicle used to transport artillery on the battlefield and also doubles up as one to accord a military officer the highest form of honor.

This week, however, it serves a different purpose altogether; transporting a fallen commander in chief of the defense forces.

“It reflects on the importance of artillery in theater, just to put it into perspective when they say ‘where the guns go is where the glory goes’,” Retired Brigadier-General Ahamed Mohammed told Citizen TV on Monday.


The importance of the person on board is evident as officers of the rank of Colonel were picked to guard the body round the clock.

They moved the casket bearing the remains of retired president Kibaki from the Lee Funeral Home, and lining their route was a quarter guard by officers from the Kenyan army donned in official regalia.

“The vehicle itself has that honor to reflect the person at the front you’ll see the two flags, the national flag and the presidential standard representing the president and him being a five star general you’ll see five pellets at the front of the vehicle,” noted Mohammed.


The carriage was then escorted by military outriders in front and on the flanks of the slow moving vehicle, and when the body got to Parliament buildings, it was accorded gun salute honors before being placed on the platform where the late president is to lie in state on top of drapes corresponding to his presidential standard.


“Those are normally 8 pallbearers commanded by a brigadier, a one star general.”

The senior military officers took turns to stand on each of the four corners in rotation, with their heads down to signify grief.