, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Lawyer Paul Muite, who is representing Mau-Mau war veterans in a case for compensation from the UK, has renewed his plea for the Kenyan government to take up the matter a government-to-government basis.
Speaking during the first anniversary of the Memorial to the Victims of Torture and ill-treatment during the Colonial Era, Muite said direct involvement by the government would help victims and families of other freedom fighters who did not benefit from the initial payout.
He proposed the formation of an inter-governmental commission comprised of three imminent Kenyans and two nominees by the British government which will be tasked with conducting a nationwide tour and drawing up an authentic list of genuine Mau-Mau fighters to facilitate the compensation.
“These five people are enough to go across the 47 counties and compile a list of who is who and who did what, during the liberation fight. We want to know even the name of the lady who cooked food for the fighters. We also want to know the identities of those who died during the struggle, because they left dependants who can be compensated,” he said at Uhuru Park.
The sentiments were echoed by Mau Mau Veterans Association Secretary General Gitu Wakahengeri who said he did not want the matter to be limited to the association and the British government, but a matter between the two countries.
“We want to urge the British High Commissioner in Kenya to recommend that the Mau-Mau case still in a British Court be finalised by paying the victims to pave way for fruitful, inclusive reconciliation process,” he said.
In 2013, the UK paid out Sh2.6 billion (£19.9m) in costs and compensation to more than 5,228 Kenyans who suffered torture and abuse during the Mau- Mau uprising.
UK law firm Tandem AVH and its Kenyan partner Miller and Company Advocates then lodged a case in the High Court in London on behalf of at least 8,000 additional claimants.
The UK government is now resisting this much larger class action.
British High Commissioner Nic Hailey who was at the event said the Memorial is about reconciliation, allowing the two countries to discuss issues arising from the colonial era and to move forward together.
“The memorial before us today stands as a symbol of reconciliation between the British Government, the Mau-Mau, and all those who suffered during the Emergency Period in Kenya. It helps us, and future generations, to acknowledge and discuss issues arising from a difficult period in the history of both Britain and Kenya. It also offers the opportunity to move on, recognising that reconciliation is a process, not a single event,” he said.