NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Christian Turner, has called on those saying the Sh340,000 awarded to each of 5,228 Mau Mau war veterans is too little to instead focus on the gesture.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Turner said that while it was impossible to place monetary value on the atrocities the independence fighters underwent, the more important take away was the statement of regret.
“I would refer you to what the mzee who heads the Mau Mau War Veterans Association said when the question was put to him and he said to put a monetary value on what he went through is almost impossible but I welcome this statement; this sign from the British government because reconciliation begins with acknowledgement and you cannot have peace without justice, without understanding, without accountability. So reconciliation is the important word we should focus on,” Turner said.
The statement of regret, Turner said, is made all the more important by the fact that it was only the second time the British government has acknowledged the wrong doings of the colonial period.
“The first was for the Chagos Islands in 2012. It is a very, very deep and sincere statement of regret for those who suffered on all sides of the Emergency period; an acknowledgement of wrongs that were carried out in the then government’s name,” he said.
The High Commissioner also reiterated his government position that those who feel they too should have been compensated, should go the legal route.
“This settlement was reached between the British government and this particular group of veterans, the Mau Maw War Veterans Association and it was very specific to a set of personal injury claims. I think what was as important as the cash payment is the statement of regret from the British government,” Turner reiterated.
Eight thousand more claimants through Tandem AVH and its Kenyan partner Miller and Company Advocates still have a case pending before the London High Court and they too are demanding compensation for the suffering they underwent during the Mau Mau uprising.
“The Mau Mau War Veterans Association, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the Leigh Day lawyers spent a long time going right across the country, not just in Central, looking for people who had suffered injury, torture and other things during that period and they worked very hard to find those numbers and as I say if there are others who wish to make a claim in the end, that would have to be done in the courts,” Turner concluded.