Court awards Rubia Sh26 million for State torture, detention

The late Charles Rubia
The late Charles Rubia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s first African mayor and second liberation hero Charles Wanyoike Rubia has been awarded 0.065 percent of the amount he was seeking for the torture he underwent in the hands of State officers.

Mr Rubia, who died aged 95 on December 23 last year, was seeking Sh40 billion compensation from the government for the suffering he underwent and business losses.

But Justice Weldon Korir awarded him Sh26 million, saying the amount he had sought was not backed by any local decision or decree.

“It is obvious that what is sought in this petition is mind-boggling and I do not think that even the world’s best economies can meet or sustain such awards,” said the judge.

The amount is a tiny sum compared to the close to Sh1 billion that Rubia’s comrade, Kenneth Matiba, was awarded by the High Court a few years ago.


He had sued the government, saying that he had lost so much in terms of business, health and his family left devastated after he was arrested and detained by former President Daniel arap Moi’s regime.

Mr Rubia was arrested twice and illegally confined during the Nyayo era. But the court said the second detention was legal because there was an order.

“After factoring inflation and considering that the deceased was detained twice unlike Matiba, I award the estate of the deceased a global sum of Sh17 million as general damages for his unlawful detention and violation of his constitutional rights,” the judge ruled.

Justice Korir said it was clear that Mr Rubia was exposed to inhuman treatment that caused him physiological and psychological distress.

“Evidence on record was unchallenged and it follows therefore that the stress caused by the inhumane nature of the deceased’s detention was the catalyst for his thyroid disease,” he said.

The judge further awarded Sh226,200 and sterling pounds 68,980 (Sh9,001,754) being costs of medical expenses and accommodation in London.

The former MP was first arrested in February 1987 on allegations that he was the financier of Mwakenya and for working in cohorts with church leaders to topple President Moi’s government. He was detained at Nyayo House for five days before he was released.

He was arrested for the second time on July 4, 1990 when he together with Mr Matiba and former Butere MP Martin Shikuku called for a rally at the famous Kamukunji Grounds. He was arrested three days before the planned rally.

He served as Starehe MP between 1969 and 1988. On his second arrest, he was detained for about nine months and was only released after his doctor, Dr Dan Gikonyo, and a government physician recommended that he be released or be taken to hospital because he was seriously ill.

Among the investments and positions he had to relinquish after detention were Peponi School, Rweru General Stores. He also relinquished his directorship at Co-operative Bank and ICDC as well as Provincial Insurance, now known as UAP Insurance.

During his detention, Mr Rubia was forced to sleep on cold, dusty floor with inadequate blanket. Because of the cold, he got a chest infection and according to Dr Gikonyo, he had lost several kilogrammes when he examined him in detention.