NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – The Mau Mau War Veterans Association (MMWVA) is now asking the Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua to keep off their affairs following allegations that the list of victims of torture to be compensated was false.
Mutua had sought the compensation paid to them stopped and had stated that LSK was in the process of getting the genuine list of true victims of torture under the British rule to benefit from the 2.6 billion shillings allocated for them.
Speaking during a press conference the association’s spokesman Gitu Wa Kahengeri however said that Mutua had neither the moral nor legal authority to make any accusation against them.
“They have made accusations that our lawyers Leigh Day did not get the consent of the 5,228 torture victims who qualified for compensation from the British Government. The accusation is simply not true,” he said.
“The two gentlemen, (Apollo Mboya and Eric Mutua) have made very hurtful comments against our association by for example calling us fraudsters.”
He pointed out that LSK was never involved in their case and stated that Mutua was putting up a strong fight against them since he always had a personal interest in the matter.
“He is the lawyer representing the group that wants to forcefully take over the Mau Mau leadership from us. Even when he knew that he had not filed any case in London on behalf of the Mau Mau, Mr Eric Mutua has been very keen to ride on the wave of our victory by claiming that he was the lawyer in compensation talks with the British government,” he stated.
He also stressed that Mutua cannot stop the compensation, because there was already a genuine list and everyone who deserved compensation would get it.
“Let Eric Mutua work with if he so wishes the over 8,000 who have brought fresh cases before the English courts. Let him know that while we respect his career and profession as a lawyer, we want to tell him that it is bad manners to pick up a fight with the old and frail men and women who fought so that he may live in a free and independent Kenya,” he stated.
The new case is spearheaded by Eloise Mukami Kimathi, the widow of Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi and has been filed in the UK by Tandem AVH in collaboration with its local affiliate Miller and Company Advocates.
“The case we took to London in 2009 was for all those who individually suffered torture, who were identified from among our total membership. We know that not everyone who was tortured during the colonial period was a member of Mau Mau. Some were, some were not,” he pointed out.
He stated that though he did not have a legal background, they gave proper instructions to their lawyers.
“We did not bring a case about all the bad things that happened during the colonial period. Therefore, although the membership of MMWVA is not made up of lawyers, and although we are not lawyers like Eric Mutua and Apollo Mboya, we know what it means to build a good case and issue good instructions to our lawyers, ” he said.
Britain has agreed on a multi-million dollar compensation settlement for thousands of Kenyans tortured by colonial forces during an uprising at the tail end of the British Empire.
Negotiations began after a London court ruled in October that three elderly Kenyans, who suffered castration, rape and beatings while in detention during a crackdown by British forces and their Kenyan allies in the 1950s, could sue Britain.
The torture took place when fighters from the Mau Mau movement attacked British targets, causing panic among white settlers and alarming the government in London.