Socialist Worker

Britain's crimes in Kenya cannot go unpunished or forgotten

Issue No. 2313

A group of elderly Kenyans have been told they can sue the British Foreign Office for torture they suffered under colonial rule in the 1950s.

This follows the British government finally admitting “torture and other ill-treatment” under colonial rule in Kenya.

The government had resisted a compensation claim brought by victims and claimed the it was too late to hear the case. It had initially denied the existence of thousands of documents that are central to the case.

Wambugu Wa Nyingi, 84, Paulo Muoka Nzili, 85, and Jane Muthoni Mara, 73, described the violence they endured. In her statement, Jane Mara told the court she was subjected to sexual torture and beaten with sticks.

She said, “I want the British citizens of today to know what their forefathers did to me and to so many others. These crimes cannot go unpunished and forgotten.”

The court heard she felt “completely and utterly violated” by the abuse at Gatithi detention centre, where she was taken aged 15.


She added, “I want the British government to compensate me for the suffering I have been caused as a result of the abuse I was subjected to in the camps. I do not understand why I was treated with such brutality for simply having provided food to the Mau Mau.”

Paulo Muoka told the court he was a herdsman when he was abducted by the Mau Mau in 1957. He escaped and fled to Nairobi where the British arrested him.

On the fourth day of his stay at nearby prison Embakasi camp, he was stripped, chained and publicly castrated with large pliers used on cows.

“After I was castrated I thought I had been cut off from any sexual life and that I would never be able to marry and have children. I felt completely destroyed and without hope,” he said in his statement.

The three are asking the court for compensation to allow them to end their days with dignity.

» Guilty secrets of the British Empire exposed

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