NAIROBI, September 16- The Mau-Mau War Veterans Association has presented a memorandum to the government asking for the urgent settlement of over 2,700 freedom fighters.
The Association Chief Executive Kimani Kang`ethe says the war veterans are willing to buy land which was given to foreigners as compensation after fighting in the Second World War.
After a meeting with them, Lands Minister James Orengo said he will be setting up a joint committee to look into the issue that will include ministry officials and the war veterans.
Orengo said: “I would like to set a committee between the ministry officials and you to look into the pertinent issues you have raised because I don’t think these issues have been looked at thoroughly”.
They further urged the government to lift a gazette order made by the British colonists in 1953 ordering for the confiscation of native land from freedom fighters.
“We request you (Orengo) to appoint a special committee to look into matters of forfeiture of lands ordinance 1953(No. 11 of 1954) referred as “Native Land Rights Confiscation Order.” This order Gazetted in several notices contained in Colony and Protective of Kenya “Proclamations, Rules and Regulations Vol. XXXIV dated form January 1st to 31st December 1955 are still in force,” read the statement in part.
The war veterans told the minister that they had carried out a research where they obtained gazette notices and several other documents which they provided as evidence that freedom fighters land was officially confiscated because of their alleged participation in the struggle.
Kang`ethe stated: “when people were jailed or put in detention there land was confiscated and given to the home guards and upon their release after the independence we came together and bought land in Rift Valley Province”
They also want the government to allocate them a plot of land near the Freedom Corner where a commemorative Freedom House can be put up.
“Where as this struggle has been about land and freedom and yet we are still talking about landlessness am not saying everybody will get land but am saying that the Mau-Mau and the children of Mau-Mau that is a great shame and great tragedy,” he said.
Orengo further advised the war veterans association to carry out a registration exercise of all its members and families to avoid cases of fraudulent individuals reaping from their struggle for compensation
This came after Kang`ethe cautioned the minister that there were other groups which have been going around claiming to be members of Mau-Mau, said so far there were two such groupings.
Kang`ethe also accused the Kenya Human Right Commission of misusing its members through a case it has filed in London demanding that the UK government pay its members for injustices committed during the struggle for independence
“We believe that the issue of compensation should be handled in Hague, we believe the cases of reparation should be handled there like it was the case for the Japanese who got payment from the US over the injustices,” he said.
Some members of the veterans moved to the UK Court in 2006, after the KHRC hired lawyer David May to represent their case against the UK Government.