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Mau Mau fighters lose suit for British colonial torture compensation

Manyani Detention Camp
People believed to be Mau Mau being loaded onto trains heading to Manyani Detention Camp in the 1950s. PHOTO | COURTESY | DOUGLAS KIEREINI  

A group of Mau Mau freedom fighters who hoped to get monetary compensation from the Kenyan government for torture by the colonial administration in the 1950s have suffered a blow after the High Court dismissed their petition.

The group registered as Kimerera Elders’ Advisory Council (Mau-Mau founders) also expected to get paid for fixed assets and institutions acquired compulsorily from them by the colonial government without compensation.

They complained that among the atrocities meted on them by the British administration was loss of life due to torture, degradation, relocation from homes, detention and human suffering.

Justice Kanyi Kimondo, while sitting at the High Court in Murang’a, heard that the sufferings were caused between 1952 and 1963, during the Mau Mau or freedom fighters’ struggle for Kenya’s independence.

The petitioners had listed 14 war veterans as witnesses in the suit who told of how they were forced into detention camps.

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The argued that the Kenyan government should compensate them just like the British government paid about 5,228 Mau Mau war veterans Sh2.7 billion in an out-of-court settlement reached in 2013.

“The first President of independent Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, promised 50 acres to each survivor of the freedom struggle at Embu between Kiiye River to Mbogori,” they told the court.

The group had also sought compensation for confiscation of Mau Mau properties held in trust by Independent Churches by the colonial government.

Led by Mr Maina Kamau, Mr Mwiandi Kiambati and Mr Kimwere Kamau, the group wanted the court to order for release of about Sh9 million they alleged was allocated by the British government to compensate the Mau Mau fighters.

Dismissing the case, Justice Kimondo said the petition was poorly drafted and it was not properly identifiable whether the group is registered.

He advised: “I can only hope that one day a proper case is drafted, filed and prosecuted with all the seriousness it deserves.”

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