First meeting 103 years Hussein Buro, you get shocked how he has managed to live over 100 hundred years and still manages to walk without any assistance.
Not only is he a family man with over 20 children,45 grandchildren and over 10 great-grandchildren but also, he carries a rich history of colonial and post-colonial history.
He is not your ordinary centenarian. He has seen Kenya fight for independence and what attracts you most to his story, he participated in the struggle for independence.
During Kenya’s state of emergency in 1952, Buro was working as a prison warden in the Kapenguria prison which hosted the famous Kapenguria 6.
As fortune would have it for Mzee Buro, the famous Kapenguria 6 Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Achieng Oneko, Fred Kubai, Kungu Karumba and Paul Ngei were taken to Kapenguria where they were serving their prison terms.
Through the hero’s help, Kapenguria 6 constantly got informed on what was happening inside and outside the prison world through letters which he would take to them. He would hide letters beneath his arms and sneak them to and from their families.
His help grew from mere friendship to great allies between him and the Kapenguria 6 and mostly with the first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
The British colonizers suspected him of his close relationship he had developed with the Kapenguria six and they had him transferred but luck was on his side since he was transferred back to Kapenguria.
When Kenya later gained her independence, the late Kenyatta did not forget his close ally. He awarded Buro Ksh 3,000 an estimated current value of Ksh 3 million alongside foodstuffs from 1970 to 1978.
He also got the chance to guard Kenyatta’s farm at Shimo la Tewa while he was working at Shimo la Tewa prison.
He would in return get a constant supply of foodstuffs for his family. The British got jealous of their friendship and had him transferred to Kisumu.
“I was transferred to Kisumu after independence. When the news about my transfer reached Jomo Kenyatta, he ordered for my come back to Shimo La Tewa. What made me know that Kenyatta loved me that much, he ordered for the officer in charge who was responsible to be fired.”
In his Speech, Buro wishes to meet Mama Ngina who was a friend and remind her of the secrets they communicated about her husband’s welfare.
His wife, 96-year-old Hawaa Hussein has all the fond memories since she got married to Buro at 15 years. She has managed to stay with her husband for over 80 years.
During her emotional narration that resulted to tears, Hawaa expressed her disappointed of her family being neglected despite having fought for independence.
She said other freedom figjhters have been overly celebrated while her family, children to be precise do not even have jobs nor identity.
“My family has been neglected like a dog. My husband fought directly for independence but since Jomo Kenyatta died, no one has ever bothered about us. My husband risked his life for Kenya to gain her independence but now we are living dogs’ lives,” Hawaa remarked in tears.
She however advised the new generation to value family aspect and especially women to stand strong beside their husbands.
“Stay with your husband, listen and respect him. Stay with him through thick and thin and most importantly do not listen to other people’s voices,” Hawaa said.
Abdillah Hussein Mzee Buro’s 6th child says his father deserves more recognition from the state due to the efforts he made during the fight for independence. He has fond memories of how his father narrated stories about their friendship.
“My dad was posted to Shimo la Tewa as a Prison Warden. One day, the president saw Buro and recognized him immediately. He was elevated from corporal to sergeant and we would receive a constant supply of foodstuffs. When Kenyatta was in Mombasa, they would hang out together till he died in 1978.”
Abdillahi recalls how his father’s superiors felt jealous and transferred him to Kisumu. When Kenyatta realized the transfer, he ordered Buro brought back to Shimo la Tewa prison.
When Kenyatta died in 1978, Buro was transferred to Mararal by his superiors due to jelousy of their friendship.
His wish is for his father’s family to be recognized by the government. He wishes for Mama Ngina to assist them in any way and would wish for Mama Ngina to meet his father Hussein Buro.
According to Abdillahi, Mama ngina will effectively reckon Mzee Buro at the mention of his name, due to the past memories they had when late Kenyatta when imprisoned.