, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Kenya’s second liberation hero and ex presidential contender Kenneth Matiba has now sued the State for unlawful detention during the struggle for multi party democracy.
Matiba who was one of the leading businessmen in the country prior to joining politics is seeking Sh9.1 million as compensation for the suffering he underwent following his incarceration.
Matiba claims that he was unlawfully arrested on July 4 1990 and held at various prison facilities but finally taken to Langata police station where he served until his release.
The former Kiharu Member of Parliament wants the High Court to declare that he is entitled to compensation by way of damages for violation of his fundamental rights.
He seeks Sh9,153,103 as special damages for medical expenses, general, exemplary and aggravated damages because during the illegal detention he suffered stroke.
Through his lawyers Matiba contends that his administrative and leadership qualities and ability to participate in politics were greatly compromised and had to quit politics.
He claims that the government mistreated him while in detention to destroy his spirit of fighting for democracy and good governance.
It is also his case that there is a possibility that the government intended to kill him by poisoning his food.
Matiba says he continues to suffer excruciating psychological pain and mental anguish and his health has continued to deteriorate.
In the petition which he has named the Attorney- General as respondent, Matiba avers that the Kanu government’s arrest, detention and mistreatment were part of a large plot maliciously executed to perpetrate itself in power through undemocratic means.
During his detention, Matiba says he was kept in solitary confinement for a period of over five months during which time he was not allowed any visits by members of his family.
It is his case that the said detention was illegal because calling for the re-introduction of multi party democracy did not in any way constitute a danger to public security.
Matiba claims his trouble began in May 1990 when he and Charles Rubia convened a press conference in Nairobi in which they called for the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution.
During the press briefing, the politicians called for dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections which they believed could only be achieved by opening up or widening the democratic space since Kenya at the time was a one party state.
Matiba says what followed was condemnation, threat and vilification from KANU stalwarts who included among others retired President Daniel arap Moi, Cabinet Ministers, technocrats and politicians of various shades.
He claims that Moi and his associates roundly, falsely and maliciously accused him and Rubia of being actuated by sinister motives in calling for the re-introduction of multiparty democracy and went ahead to criminalize their legal actions.
But Matiba states that despite the condemnations, intimidation and vilification they were undeterred because they believed they were merely exercising their rights.
He seeks a declaration that his fundamental rights and freedoms were violated by his unlawful arrest and subsequent detention, torture during his detention.