By Peter Orengo
The Government has taken over a case instituted by freedom fighters against the British Government for torture committed during Kenyan’s struggle for independence.
Attorney General Amos Wako has been in touch with the Solicitors and Barristers acting for the Mau Mau Veterans and will identify a suitable Queen’s Counsel to help in the case.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has been representing the veterans in the case seeking reparations from the queen’s government for atrocities committed against the Mau Mau during the State of Emergency between 1952 and 1960.
The British moved to strike out the case on grounds of State succession. It said the Kenya Government was legally liable for colonial era tortures.
But on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula refuted the claims, saying Kenya would not accept any liability as it inherited sins of the British colony and government.
"The Kenyan Government disabuses any notion that any responsibility for torture committed during the Emergency was inherited by the Kenyan Government at Independence," Wetang’ula said at a news conference. He said the Government would support the veteran’s case in an application hearing slotted for June in the UK.
The British High Commissioner in Nairobi has been briefed on the Government’s decision.
"The Government supports this case... It will not be a bystander but will be more than partners with the victims’ groups and the KNCHR and lead the way," said Wetang’ula.
The minister asked the British Government to lessen litigation cost by admitting liability to allow the case to move to the next stage of settling damages.
Last week Prime Minister Raila Odinga instructed the AG to follow the case in the UK and ensure the Mau Mau war veterans get justice.
Wetang’ula said the first two governments after Independence disregarded Mau Mau until the Narc Government took over in 2003.
"For more than 40 years, Mau Mau remained a banned organisation until the Narc government came in to lift the ban. This has enabled the Government to start seeking redress," said Wetang’ula.
The AG asked Kenyans to support the Mau Mau veterans.
Others present were Mau Mau Association Spokesman Gitu wa Kahengeri, a colonial DO who resigned during the emergency John Nottingham, George Morara and Muthoni Wanyeki of the KNCHR and other freedom fighters.