Kenfrey Kiberenge: Shameful stalling tactics are trying to deny victims closure

Kenyans are keenly aware of the West’s double standards when it comes to human rights

Share
Related Topics

Kenyans are keenly watching this case. First, they want to examine the true independence of the vaunted British judiciary, a model often cited in the ongoing reforms of Kenya's convoluted court system.

They are also thrilled by the irony of Britain – a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which was set up to guard against gross human right abuses – now having to defend crimes committed by its own forces.

It is important to note that the British Government does not reject assertions of gross violations of the Mau Mau's human rights before Kenyan independence in 1963.

What London initially wanted was for the Kenyan Government to assume liability. When this failed following a court judgement last year, Britain tried to cite the elapsed time as a reason for the cases to be thrown out.

How do you explain that to Naomi Nzyula, who claims to have been sexually assaulted with a bottle, killing her unborn baby? Her husband was castrated and made deaf during a brutal beating. Neither has seen their three children since they were arrested in December 1952.

Kenyans are keenly aware of the West's double standards when it comes to human rights. Britain is a strong backer of an ICC case in which four Kenyans face charges of crimes against humanity related to the 2008 poll violence which left more than 1,000 people dead. Questions to any British official about these cases attract a uniform answer: let justice run its course.

Why then is the same administration seeking to have the Mau Mau case struck out on a technicality?

Fortunately Kenyan human rights groups have been willing to take on some of the financial burden of conducting such a difficult legal challenge. Had the three elderly claimants had to rely on their personal finances they would have given up long ago.

But the truth is they are ageing – one of the four original claimants has already died and the rest are in their 70s and 80s. Kenyan lawyer Paul Muite thinks Britain is well aware of this and is stalling. I hope that's not the case.

Whatever the outcome, this is an opportunity for Kenya to confront its past. For the first time, candid questions are being asked as to why so many Kenyans were "conned" out of their prime land by ruling elites in the independence government and encouraged to settle in areas where they were treated as aliens.

Like a double-edged sword, this case can hurt both the British and the Kenyan government, which still has officials – or their descendants – who benefited from the trickery of the independence administration.

Kenfrey Kiberenge works for The Standard newspaper in Nairobi. He is winner of the David Astor Journalism Award 2012 and is on a fellowship programme with The Independent

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
King Abdullah made Saudi Arabia prosperous but had absolute disregard for what liberal Westerners would view as basic human rights  

The media cannot ignore tricky questions when someone dies - but it must stick to the facts

Will Gore
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us