Kenyan government owes it to Maumau fighters for their unrelenting spirit that baptised it into independence and eternal freedom. But like an ungrateful child, the government is biting the hand that once fed it.
A group of war veterans were deeply heartbroken when the High court dismissed their petition that could have seen them reap the fruits of their hard labour from the Kenyan government over torture by the colonial administration in the 1950s.
According to the freedom fighters, appearing before Justice Kanyi Kimondo of the High Court in Muranga, they underwent the sufferings between 1952 and 1963 during the Mau Mau struggle for Kenya’s independence and lost their lands through displacement when people were forced into detention camps by the colonial government.
They were now seeking compensation for confiscation by the colonial government of Mau Mau properties held in trust by the Independent churches demanding the court to order for the release of money amounting to Sh9 million they alleged was released by the British government to compensate them.
Formed in 1976 by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to represent war veterans, the group told the court that the Mzee gave them land in Embu but it has never been transferred to them and he had promised them monetary compensation through the Attorney-General, which is yet to materialise.
“We have been discriminated against by successive governments of Kenya which continued to pay a pension to former home guards who were used by the colonial government to suppress the fundamental rights and freedoms of indigenous Kenyans prior to Independence. The current independent Kenya government is liable to the petitioner (MauMau fighters) and its members under the principle of successive liability,” they cried foul in the court.
Unsympathetic Justice Kimondo dismissed the case saying the petition was poorly drafted and it could not be verified whether or not the group is registered.
“Most of the documents appear to be official letters that came into the possession of the petitioner. Others are letters written by the petitioners and some answers thereto. All these documents do not advance, in any way, the claims set out in the petition. It is clear that the petitioner has based its claims upon various articles of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Needless to say, that Constitution was not in place during the period of the alleged violations of the petitioner’s rights and freedoms between 1952 and 1962,” the judge summed it up.
Breach of Mau Mau human rights, the particulars of the properties confiscated from them by the colonial government can be handled in court if the proper case is drafted, filed and prosecuted with all the seriousness it deserves, after properly identifying the claimants, their roles in the struggle for independence according to Justice Kimondo.
But when the court is quick to dismiss them with the much they have who will save the day?