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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora