By MANGOA MOSTA
Thomas Magero Oluk lost six teeth for informing the media where the colonial government was hiding Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on the night of October 20, 1952, at Lokitang in Lodwar.
Three years later, he risked his life by supplying Mau Mau fighters with ammunition and food.
As Kenya marks 50 years of independence, Oluk is arguably one of the people that played a part in the struggle against colonialism.
Oluk was then a teenager working as a driver for the government in the Ministry of Public Works.
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One the material day as he slept in his house in Lodwar, he heard a man writhing in pain as he was being beaten by colonial government law enforcers.
“Mimi ni Kenyatta, si mwizi, usinipige (I’m Kenyatta, I’m not a thief, don’t beat me up),” Oluk recalls Kenyatta desperately telling an askari (security officer).
The following day, Oluk travelled to Kitale, over 100km away and alerted the media about Kenyatta. “I told Baraza (The Standard) and BBC that Kenyatta was being held in Lodwar.”
Oluk returned to Lodwar five days later and found the situation tense. One day the police found him giving Kenyatta water.
“I was seriously beaten and reported to the area DC, a Mr Whitehouse,” he says.
He was later moved to Kitale where DC Roe Wilson accused him of being a member of the Mau Mau.
“The DC ordered me to remove my teeth according to Luo traditions to prove I was not a member. I agreed to have my teeth removed. It was very painful as the doctor used a pair of pliers,” Oluk recollects.
Due to the profuse bleeding and injuries, he was admitted to Kitale District Hospital for six weeks. After being discharged from hospital, Oluk had lost his job and he decided to move to Nairobi where he joined other freedom fighters.