, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The Mau Mau war veterans who have lodged a petition at the British Royal Courts of Justice over atrocities committed to them during the colonial regime said on Sunday that they would now embark on political advocacy.
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Acting Deputy Executive Director, Tom Kagwe said political support was necessary to strengthen the case against the British government.
“This will be done within the confines of Parliament, it will be done within the confines of political arenas and we will get the necessary political will and political support for some of the cases we will continue pursuing,” he told a news conference.
The veterans of the Mau Mau revolt, which led to a series of bloody battles between Kenyan nationalists and British forces throughout the 1950s, left Kenya for the first time in their lives to make their claim in person in London less than a week ago.
Speaking in the same news conference, Mau Mau War Veteran Association Spokesperson Gitu wa Kahengeri warned of fraudsters who were spreading rumors that some money had been released for the veterans.
“There is no other association that is registered to represent the Mau Mau war veterans. All those others are fraudsters who are out to enrich themselves,” he stated.
KHRC Programme Officer George Morara said they were aware it would be a long legal tussle but were ready for it.
“We have four months according to the British law within which our lawyers must bring forward very substantive particulars of each of the lead claimants,” Mr Morara said.
“After that the British government will respond but we don’t know how long they will take to respond to our claim,” he said.
In a petition letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the five elderly Kenyans who presented it said their claim of justice was on behalf of all those who were abused and tortured during the colonial period.
“Sir, this is not a case about colonialism or about politics, it is about a group of people who were tortured and who struggle to live with the consequences of that torture to this day,” the letter stated in part.
In the letter, the war veterans sought recognition of the historic wrong which was done and demanded an apology from the British government.
They also called on the British government to order an inquiry into the numbers of elderly Kenyans who lived with effects of ill treatment by the British Colonial Regime and to establish a financial scheme to help them and their families.
The war veterans however stated they were willing to have an out of court settlement if the British government showed willingness.
They claimed damages for negligence, false imprisonment, trespass to the person and torture.
“We ask you, Mr Brown, to consider our case sympathetically because we are now friends, we are no longer enemies,” they said in the letter.
“And we would like to invite you to visit Kenya and meet our communities and families who were so affected by the brutality of those times.”