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Mau Mau Veterans Call for Election Boycott if UK Refuses to Pay Reparations

Mau Mau suspects at one of the prison camps in 1953

Mau Mau suspects at one of the prison camps in 1953

Victims of atrocities during British colonial rule in Kenya have called for a boycott of next year’s general election until billions of pounds of reparations are paid by the UK.

Veterans who fought against white settlers and the British Army during the fight for Kenya’s independence say they have never been compensated for the persecution they suffered.

In 2013, the British government agreed to pay out over $25 million in reparations to a group of more than 5,000 survivors of the Mau Mau rebellion.

The agreement saw then-Foreign Secretary William Hague recognize on behalf of the UK, for the first time, “that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.” “The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place,” he said.

The UK also agreed to finance a memorial to the Mau Mau conflict, which was unveiled in central Nairobi’s Uhuru Park in September 2015. But for members of the Mau Mau Original lobby group, which represents veterans of the conflict, these measures do not go nearly far enough.

They have said they believe every Kenyan deserves a share of the reparations for the damage colonial rule did to the country. Figures like the $25 million sum were calculated based on census data from the 1940s, they argue, and do not reflect the fact that the country’s population is now much larger.

The group’s national chairman, Field Marshall Ngacha Karani, says the Kenyan government should be demanding $5 trillion. That’s about $1.25 trillion more than Britain’s total annual GDP.

According to a report on Wednesday, Dec. 14, by Kenya’s Citizen TV, Ngacha told a meeting of the Mau Mau Original that the group must travel throughout the country in order to mobilize Kenyans to boycott the election due to be held on Aug. 8. He also questioned why Kenyan governments have failed to do more to pressure Britain into giving more.

Ngacha was not the only Mau Mau veteran to speak this week against his own government on the matter. In an interview with Kenya’s Standard newspaper, 90-year-old freedom fighter Faith Wanjiru Wachira recalled how she risked her life to help feed and clothe Mau Mau rebels deep inside the Mount Kenya forest.

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