Githu pledges to pay those tortured during Moi’s regime

Saturday September 12 2015

Attorney-General Githu Muigai. People who were tortured in the Nyayo House chambers during President Daniel Moi’s regime have been promised compensation unconditionally. FILE  PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Attorney-General Githu Muigai. People who were tortured in the Nyayo House chambers during President Daniel Moi’s regime have been promised compensation unconditionally. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ELVIS ONDIEKI
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People who were tortured in the Nyayo House chambers during President Daniel Moi’s regime have been promised compensation unconditionally.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai announced yesterday that the government would unreservedly pay victims as a way of confronting “its own past of human rights violations for the last 50 years”.

“It is our commitment to pay off all Nyayo torture chamber claims without contesting them in court,” Prof Muigai said.

He was speaking at Uhuru Park during the launch of a monument in memory of Mau Mau freedom fighters who bore the brunt of British brutality during the emergency of 1952 to 1960.

The memorial is at the park’s Freedom Corner and cost Britain £90,000 (Sh14 million).

It is consists of a sitting space and plaques inscribed with the history of the period in English, Kiswahili and braille.

Mau Mau War Veterans Association secretary-general Gitu wa Kahengeru said some descendants of freedom fighters were still landless.

He urged the government to reorganise Mashujaa Day events to give more prominence to freedom fighters.

He also said they should be invited to State House to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario said President Kenyatta will meet the veterans, the attorney-general and British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner at State House next week.

The memorial was constructed as part of an out-of-court settlement the British entered with the victims and the Kenya Human Rights Commission. London has also paid £19.9 million (Sh3 billion) compensation to 5,228 victims and made a public apology.

High Commissioner Turner said: “The memorial stands as a symbol of reconciliation, allowing us to discuss together the issues arising from a difficult period of our shared history”

Cord leader Raila Odinga said: “Because Kenya is running away from its past and seeking heroes out of villains, we have never embarked on an honest search for Dedan Kimathi’s remains. We do not want to honour Waiyaki wa Hinga because he reminds us of how small our contribution is to the emergence of the Kenyan nation.”

Kenya Human Rights Commission chairman Makau Mutua said: “We accept the apology of the British and are ready to embark on a journey to uncover the truth and justice so that the process of reconciliation starts in earnest.”