The Meru Story: How Gichiaro was Formed

Gichiaro Ameru
Gichiaro – Meru brotherhood

Keeping up with the Meru story, our lesson last time was how the Meru worshiped and prayed to God, Kini Kiiru; and the good and bad spirits they acknowledged.

But, how about the relations between the people themselves? You must have heard about Gichiaro. It is one of the most respected, no, feared phenomena of the Meru, to date. You must have been told not to do bad things to so and so because he/she is your Gichiaro. Or, if you wrong someone and have their debt, they send you someone who is your Gichiaro. Or, ask your parents before you get married because you could be in love with your Gichiaro (or else you will have to be cleansed by having sex in front of your family and clan)

Well, here is how Gichiaro started:

The Ameru grew in numbers and kept settling in previously untouched grounds. They had only one leader, Mugwe/Mukiama. Everyone respected Mukiama because he was chosen by god himself. But, you will agree with me that it could be difficult to control so many people, spread over such a big area. Only Governor Munya can tell us that. Mukiama appeared to have no control of the tribe beyond that respect.

Indiscipline started cropping up big time. Disagreements blame the order of the day. Theft, hatred, bitterness, killings and subsequent revenge against each other/clan. Something had to be done that was beyond being punished by the Njuri Ncheke.

So, the disputing clans and families were called before the Mukiama and elders. Their grievances were listened to and the leaders decided that only an oath could solve these problems. They swore that they would live as brothers and sisters from that day onwards.

According to the oath, which bound them and their descendants forever, no one could do wrong to the other, not even denying them food. And, as they were now brothers and sisters, they could not marry. They were also advised to live apart from each other to avoid breaking the oath and facing the consequences.

READ  Meru Marriage Customs (Dowry and Wedding Ceremony)

Gichiaro is very respected among the Ameru to this day. The descendants of those who took the oath call each other Waba (that’s one of the most used salutations between guys of the same age – now you know what that means).

So, do you know your Gichiaro?


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5 thoughts on “The Meru Story: How Gichiaro was Formed”

  1. Lovely piece.
    Allow me to add something small

    Waba or mutanoba and mwarioba means you were born by men(fathers) through a blood oath as opposed to through your mother via the marital bed, who are then called mutanocia and mwarocia.

    Fyi.. mutanocia and mwarocia includes all cousins on your fathers side..

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