The Star (Nairobi)

14 December 2012

Kenya: Pay Up Compensation, British Govt Told

NYERI Mau Mau freedom fighters have urged the UK government to hasten their compensation.This follows a ruling by a London court that the colonial British government was responsible for atrocities committed during the fight for independence in the 1950s.

Led by Nyeri Mau Mau War Veterans Association chairman Captian Nderitu Wambugu accused the David Cameron government of dragging its feet in working out the modalities of the compensation.

Speaking during Jamhuri Day celebrations held at Dedan Kimathi Kamukunji grounds in Nyeri town, Wambugu called for speedy compensation. He said many of the beneficiaries were very old and did not have a long time to wait.

In October 4, three Kenyans tortured at the hands of the British authorities during the Mau Mau war won the right to a High Court trial in a landmark ruling that paves the way for thousands of legal claims arising from brutality during the colonial era.

"A fair trial for the Kenyans does remain possible and the evidence on both sides does remain significantly cogent for the court to complete its task satisfactorily," said Justice McCombe. British lawyer described the McCombe's decision as a "landmark".

The three Mau Mau veterans -- Paolo Muoka Nzili, 85, Wambugu wa Nyingi, 84, and 73-year-old Jane Muthoni Mara suffered what their lawyers described as "unspeakable acts of brutality." Nzili died last week.

Captain Wambugu said the fact that a UK court ruled in favour of the war veterans was proof enough that the atrocities meted on the freedom fighters were inhuman. He said the current British government should bear the responsibility for the colonial government's misdeeds.

"Some of us are still nursing wounds and scars of the freedom struggle atrocities meted by the colonialists. It was the worst form of injustice a human being can be subjected to and it will always remain a dark past in the history of this country." Wambugu said.

The revolt against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s was marked by atrocities, with thousands killed, maimed,imprisoned and rendered homeless.

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