Matiba seeks Sh9.1m from government for detention

 Mr Kenneth Matiba. Photo/FILE
Mr Kenneth Matiba. Photo/FILE 

Second liberation hero Kenneth Matiba wants the government to pay for his detention on spearheading the clamour for multi-party democracy.

Mr Matiba is seeking a minimum of Sh9.1 million “special damages” incurred in medical expenses, general, exemplary and aggravated injuries he suffered while in prison.

A petition lodged in court Monday said that about May 3, 1990, together with Mr Charles Rubia—at the time both MPs and ministers—Mr Matiba convened a press conference in Nairobi.

“We called for the repeal of Section 2(a) of the Constitution of Kenya, the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of free elections devoid of rigging and an end to the mismanagement of public affairs which we believed could only be achieved by opening up or widening the democratic space,” the court document read.

Mr Matiba says what followed was subjection to condemnation, threats and vilification from Kanu bigwigs who included the former President Daniel Moi, cabinet ministers, technocrats and politicians. 

“In essence, President Moi and his associates roundly, falsely and maliciously accused us of being actuated by sinister motives in calling for the re-introduction of multiparty democracy and even went as far as criminalising our perfectly legal actions,” the petition reads in part.

He said intimidation intensified with a section of politicians even demanding that they be detained. Mr Matiba was ‘unlawfully’ arrested on July 4, 1990 and held at various locations and finally taken to a police station where he was served with a detention order. He was detained in various prisons within Kenya until he was hospitalised on June 4, 1991. 

Illegal detention

On June 9, 1991, while still in hospital, the government announced he had been released from detention. He says in the petition that the detention was illegal as calling for a re-introduction of multipartyism was democratic and did not in any way foster danger to a peaceful public society.

“The detention was actuated by malice... we were not the only persons who called for the repeal of the said provision since others had done so before and others continued to do so even after our detention.”

The case has been certified urgent and will be put before a judge for directions.