Kenyan Mau Mau veterans have accused the British government of misleading UK’s parliament over atrocities it is alleged to have committed in Kenya during colonization.
At least 44,000 Kenyans have filed a lawsuit against British Foreign Office in Kenya demanding compensation for crimes committed by British settlers during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.
In the ongoing court hearing, much of it televised via video link technology from Nairobi, Kenyan Mau Mau veterans are accusing the British government of plotting a cover-up in attempts to discredit their claims.
The elderly veterans accuse British colonists of torture, rape, forced labor, murder, detention and castration. Since the ongoing legal action began in 2013, at least 2,000 claimants have died, and a majority of the ones remaining are in their nineties, the Guardian reports.
The current compensation claim follows an earlier one in which the British government paid out 19.9 million euros as compensation to over 5,228 Kenyan Mau Mau veterans in 2013, but the veterans say it was not enough.
Legal arguments and testimonies in the ongoing case are expected to carry over into next year as the British government continues to resist the claim.
Mau Mau Uprising
The infamous Mau Mau uprising, also known as the Mau Mau revolt, happened between 1952 and 1963. It involved a group of Kenyans calling themselves Mau Mau who were protesting against British settlers who had teamed up with local anti-Mau Mau regiments.
Mau Mau rebels objected to the influx of British farmers, also referred to as White Settlers, who had taken over fertile land, commonly referred to as White Highlands, where they herded locals into concentration camps and forced them to work on their farms without pay.
In 1952, a group of locals, mainly members of the Kikuyu tribe, organized resistance, which led to the killing of white settlers.
A state of emergency was later declared, with most colonists attributing the uprising to communism, hatred of Christianity and “evil capabilities of the African mind”, according to the Guardian.
During the Mau Mau revolt, a lot of atrocities were reported including murder, torture, slavery and unlawful detention. To this day, it is still not clear how many people died in the rebellion.
The insurgency continued for years until 1960, when establishment of the First Lancaster House Conference allowed a native Kenyan majority to take the helm of power, culminating in the reign of former Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, who started out as the first Prime Minister of Kenya.
Kenya then gained its independence from Britain in 1963.