NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – The British government may have paid out Sh2.6 billion (£19.9mn) to 5,228 victims of atrocities during the Mau Mau uprising of the 1950s, but its battle with Kenya’s war veterans is far from over.
UK law firm Tandem AVH and its Kenyan partner Miller and Company Advocates already has a case lodged in the High Court in London on behalf of at least 8,000 additional claimants.
Notably, the pending claim that was lodged in March this year is spearheaded by Eloise Mukami Kimathi, the widow of Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi.
Capital FM News has seen court documents filed in March this year by Mukami and others as part of a suit by 8,061 claimants who are seeking compensation.
Already, a precedent has been set for an out-of-court settlement after Foreign Secretary William Hague announced last Thursday that £19.9mn would be paid out following a legal battle lodged in the UK.
Hague who fell short of making a full apology said: “The British government recognises that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.”
The declaration has created anxiety with all Mau Mau victims expecting to receive payments, but settlement only applies to 5,228 victims, while the actual number of those entitled to compensation may be in the region of 15,000.
Majority of those who legitimately suffered at the hands of British colonialists have however since died.
The lead lawyer at Tandem AVH Bryan Cox QC speaking on the settlement secured by another UK firm Leigh Day, said regret expressed by Hague was welcome but pointed out: “With many more thousands of claims currently unresolved, the matter is far from over. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has agreed a compensation package with just one law firm representing 5,228 victims, there are many more victims still waiting an agreement. We are currently working with over 8,000 Kenyan claimants who have received no such offer.”
The reparation litigation by Mukami, James Karanja Nyoro and others through Tandem AVH-Miller and Company Advocates is seeking unquantified damages for personal injury and ensuing losses from torture, mistreatment, forced labour and wrongful detention by the British colonial administration in Kenya during the state of emergency.
The claim that was settled last Thursday relates to a case filed by Leigh Day which was working with lawyer Paul Muite.
In that case, the Kenya Human Rights Commission registered claimants who sought compensation.
The watershed case was lodged by Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara who last year told the High Court in London how they were subjected to torture and sexual mutilation.
Nyingi severely beaten, Nzili castrated while Mara was subjected to horrendous sexual abuse in detention camps during the Mau Mau uprising.
Reports after the settlement suggested that each of the 5,228 victims would get roughly Sh300,000 which Tandem AVH says is “worryingly modest.”
“We are very concerned about this. Having been in Kenya for the past 14 months taking very detailed witness statements, it is absolutely crucial that the FCO understands, in detail, the very great suffering of all the victims to ensure they are properly compensated,” Cox said of the sum.