The late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai was indeed a rebel with a cause.
Millions in the world remember her because of her fierce opposition to autocracy. She was the kind of woman who could stop at nothing whenever she set her mind to achieve a certain goal. She believed in the conservation of trees and stood up against the regime of retired President Daniel Arap Moi.
During her lifetime, she made both friends and enemies.
Born in the village of Ihithe, Nyeri, Wangari rose to become one of the most powerful women after she bagged several awards. By March 1992, the Kanu government had arrested several persons because of politically instigated reasons.
The crackdown on dissidents led to the arrests of the likes of Rumba Kinuthia, Koigi Wamwere and Mirugi Kariuki. It was on Friday, February 25, 1992, when women led by Maathai made their way to Uhuru Park.
The government had in 1989 revealed its plans to construct the Kenya Times Media Complex at the park.
Wangari records that they decided to strip naked on the fourth day of the protests after police stormed the park to kick them out as they protested against the establishment of the complex at the park which was meant for environmental conservation. Wangari said women just like men deserve respect.
“One of the most powerful of African traditions concerns the relationship between a woman and a man who could be her son. Every woman old enough to be your mother is considered like your own mother and expects to be treated with considerable respect,” Maathai wrote in her autobiography, as quoted by the Standard.