Monday, November 19, 2012

New finding boosts Mau Mau case

Kenyan nationals, from left, Ndiku Mutua, Jane Muthoni Mara and Wambugu wa Nyingi are claiming compensation for alleged acts of brutality against them by the British colonial government during the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion.  A UK law firm discovered new evidence at a London archive allegedly incriminating the former rulers. Photo/FILE

Kenyan nationals, from left, Ndiku Mutua, Jane Muthoni Mara and Wambugu wa Nyingi are claiming compensation for alleged acts of brutality against them by the British colonial government during the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion. A UK law firm discovered new evidence at a London archive allegedly incriminating the former rulers. Photo/FILE 

By MUCHEMI WACHIRA [email protected]

The case by Mau Mau fighters against the British Government got a boost after a UK law firm discovered new evidence at a London archive allegedly incriminating the former rulers.

Tandem Law, which is pushing UK to compensate the freedom fighters, said the new evidence shows communication between the British government and the colonial administration.

“The materials were found at the archive in Hanslope area and they show the communication between the British Government and Colonial administration in Kenya during the freedom struggle.

“And from the communication, it is clear that the Government (British) was aware of what transpired in detention camps,” lawyer Bryan Cox told Nation in an interview at a Nakuru hotel.

He said the British government had destroyed most of the materials that the law firm would have used as evidence to prove their case.

Mr Cox is in the country to witness former Mau Mau fighters record statements, which the law firm intends to use in seeking compensation from UK.

Last month, Tandem Law gave the British government a three-month notice asking it to state whether it was prepared to propose a compensation scheme for the freedom fighters.

The notice has given facts of claims for damages by 2,000 Mau Mau war victims from whom the law firm had recorded witness statements.

“In our notice, we want the Government (British government) to accept liability but if it fails to respond, we will be forced to move to court,” Mr Cox, who was accompanied by his colleague Freddie Cosgrove-Gibson, said.

Tandem Law has been pursuing the compensation cases since a ruling by the High Court in London in which three elderly Kenyans were given a go-ahead to sue the British government for abuse of their rights during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s.

But it is Leigh Day & Company, another UK law firm, which is representing Ms Jane Muthoni Mara, Mr Paulo Muoka Nzili and Mr Wambugu Wa Nyingi.

Colonial abuses

In the Tandem case, claimants who include Ms Mukami Kimathi — the widow of slain Mau Mau general Dedan Kimathi — are accusing the Britain of ill-treatment during the State of Emergency imposed by the colonial government in October 1952.

They are claiming liability for assault, rape, battery, negligence and false imprisonment.

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