Kenya: Ex-Air Force Men Want Budget Reviewed to Include Sh55m Award for Torture

Ex-Kenya Air Force soldiers accused of participating in the 1982 coup have petitioned Parliament, seeking a review of the 2021/2022 budget to accommodate their compensation awarded by courts for unfair dismissal.

In the petition presented before the House last Thursday, the former soldiers accuse the government of ignoring several court orders to pay them after they were found to have had no role in the attempted 1982 coup that led to their dismissal from duty.

In the petition presented by DJ Njau and LR Ngure on behalf of the former soldiers, the petitioners say that despite getting justice in courts, the Ministry of Defence is yet to pay them more than Sh55 million they were awarded.

The petitioners are worried that since most of their colleagues are aged above 65 years and have no capacity to fend for themselves, any further delay to pay them the compensation will worsen their deteriorating health.

"Despite the PS for Defence seeing the affidavit on oath averring that the ministry had factored the payment in the 2017/2018 budget to settle the compensation, the orders remain unheeded several years later," reads the petition.

Read: Bad governance: Tax-payers bear brunt of State backed torture

The petitioners say they served the country diligently until 1982 when they were arrested for allegedly participating in the coup. They told Parliament through the petition that some were detained for six months and others for several years unlawfully and unconstitutionally and later dismissed from duty without any compensation.

The petitioners say in their petition that they pursued justice through the High Court of Kenya, which granted them varying awards from 2012. They also obtained several certificates of decrees, taxation and orders against the government to be paying them in 2017, however, they have not received a single cent.

The petitioners now want Parliament to allocate the Ministry of Defence more funds in the 2021/2022 financial year to settle their compensation and interest accrued.

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi directed the Budget and Appropriation committee to consider proposing necessary adjustments to the 2021/2022 budget for the relevant votes to accommodate the prayers of the petitioners.

"Having determined that the issues raised by the petitioners are within the authority of this House, I order that the petition be committed before the Budget and Appropriation committee to consider and report back to the House within 14 days," Mr Muturi said.

In November 2013, the High Court awarded Sh55 million to 10 former ex-service officers of Kenya Air Force for torture they underwent after the failed 1982 attempted coup.

Justice Isaac Lenaola ordered that each of the petitioners should receive Sh5.5 million after they were detained for eight months from August 1982 to March 1983.

The officers told the court that they were all arrested on diverse dates between August 1 and 4, 1982 on suspicion of participating in the failed coup, merely on account of them being in the Kenya Air Force.

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