News / Africa

Britain Apologizes, Pays Compensation for Colonial Abuses in Kenya

Njenga Kiarie, a Mau Mau War Veterans Association member, follows proceedings during news conference, Nairobi, June 6, 2013.
Njenga Kiarie, a Mau Mau War Veterans Association member, follows proceedings during news conference, Nairobi, June 6, 2013.
Henry Ridgwell
— Britain has apologized and agreed to pay compensation to thousands of veterans of the Mau Mau nationalist uprising in Kenya, which was brutally suppressed by the British colonial government in the 1950s.  It could pave the way for further claims against Britain for its actions in its former colonies.

The uprising by Mau Mau nationalists in 1950s Kenya was brutally suppressed by the British colonial government.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission estimates that 90,000 Kenyans were killed or maimed and 160,000 detained.  Torture and rape were common.

More than 50 years later, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has apologized and agreed to pay compensation.

“The agreement includes payment of a settlement sum in respect of 5,228 claimants, as well as a gross costs sum to the total value of 19.9 million pounds [US $30.8 million].  The government will also support the construction of a memorial in Nairobi to the victims of torture and ill treatment during the colonial era," he said.

Britain Apologizes, Pays Compensation for Colonial Abuses in Kenyai
X
June 07, 2013 1:11 PM
Britain has apologized and agreed to pay compensation to thousands of veterans of the Mau Mau nationalist uprising in Kenya, which was brutally suppressed by the British colonial government in the 1950s. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, it could pave the way for further claims against Britain for actions in its former colonies.

In Kenya, Mau Mau veterans and campaigners celebrated the apology but said the compensation was far from enough.  General Gitu Wa Kahengeri is secretary of the Mau Mau Veterans.

“We were detained for 10 years.  I was detained for seven years with my father, who raised me. So the issue of 300,000 shillings [US $3,500] is far from the amount that I should have been paid or my father or anyone else who was there during the fight," he said.

The deal was reached after a court ruled last year that three elderly Mau Mau veterans who suffered castration, rape and beatings could sue the government.

The lawyer representing the Mau Mau, Martyn Day, said it’s been a history lesson for Britain.

“Post World War II, the mood of everybody was that the Germans and the Japanese did absolutely terrible things to people and we were a cut above.  I think the first lesson is that in fact we have done just as bad things at times,” said Day.

Britain had tried for three years to block the legal action, arguing that responsibility passed to Kenya upon its independence in 1963, and that the claim was brought after the legal time limit.  Both arguments were rejected in court.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the way the government fought the legal action was an insult.

“Even the colonial administrators of the time admitted that these abuses were happening.  So I do not understand why in good conscience the British government held out and fought so long and hard to deny this compensation and apology,” he said.

Tatchell said thousands more people were abused under British colonial rule.

“I hope this agreement will now pave the way for an apology and compensation for the victims of British colonial repression in other territories such as Malaya, Aden and Cyprus.  They were subjected to similar abuses and it’s time they got justice,” he said.

The British government says it does not believe the settlement with Mau Mau veterans sets a precedent for other victims of British colonial rule.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andrew
June 07, 2013 2:56 PM
We will never know the full story for reasons best known to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, who after 50 years on has agreed to pay compensation and apologise. However the book by Frank Kitson published in 1960 tells an entirely different story. The Mau Mau movement was evidently organised in great detail and was extremely complex. The official estimate in August 1953 was about 8000 but later we discovered the figure must have been 10,000 and possibly as high as 15,000. Compensation for those who lost loved ones mmm another story another time, just maybe William? include Oathing Ceremony.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid