NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Most victims of the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers are yet to be compensated for injustices meted against them during single party rule.
Former coordinator of People Against Torture (PAT) Kang’ethe Mungai who was also among those detained at Nyayo House told Capital FM News that many victims are yet to be recompensed despite assurances that their plight will be looked into.
In February 2012, Mungai was among victims appearing before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to give an account of experiences they went through during the KANU regime over their involvement in a group popularly known as Mwakenya – Muungano wa Wazalendo wa Kuikomboa Kenya (Coalition of Patriots for Liberation of Kenya) – which the government had labelled as “dangerous and subversive.”
“It has been very difficult but luckily some have been paid despite resistance from government and also our own lawyers sometimes taking money and refusing to pay,” Mungai said on the sidelines of the International Day for the Right to Truth concerning gross human rights violations and dignity of victims held at a Nairobi hotel Friday.
Mungai regretted the time it has taken to indemnify torture victims, pointing that only Sh300 million has so far been paid out of claims that could run into billions.
“We took former President Moi to court and finally I was paid Sh6 million but quite a number are yet to be paid,” he said.
He however expressed optimism that the remaining victims will be paid once a Restorative Justice Fund is established as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his State of the Nation Address in March 2015.
According to Attorney General Githu Muigai, a framework has been put in place to fully operationalalize the fund which has failed to materialize since Kenyatta’s directives in 2015 owing to a “bureaucratic process” which presented a challenge in terms of identifying where exactly “the funds would be placed and how the funds would be administered.”
The AG assured torture victims of the government’s commitment to compensate them adding that the fund will centralized with the National Treasury set to inject at least Sh1 billion every financial year to cater for reparation claims.
“The draft Public Finance Management Reparation for Historical Injustices Fund Regulations 2017 will implement the framework proposed by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC),” he noted.
Those detained during Moi’s era include veteran politician Koigi wa Wamwere, George Anyona, Wahome Mutahi, Opposition chief Raila Odinga and musician Ochieng Kabaselleh who died in hospital where he was receiving treatment for a chest condition associated with myocarditis which he developed during his detention.
In 2012, the High Court awarded Koigi wa Wamwere Sh2.5 million for torture at the Nyayo House which was later increased to Sh12 million by the Court of Appeal in March 2015 after he challenged the decision by the lower court.
Wamwere later moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the award of Sh12 million, seeking instead Sh200 million for unlawful detention.
Other victims of injustices such as the Wagala massacre will also be compensated according to the Attorney General once the fund for restorative justice is established.