A section of Kenyan freedom fighters are a disappointed lot after a London court dismissed a case they had filed in order to get compensation for the atrocities and torture they went through during the fight against colonialism in the country.
The 41,000 freedom fighters led by Gilbert Kabage termed the dismissal of their case as unfair and went ahead to call upon the Kenyan government saying it is now their responsibility to compensate the freedom fighters since they have not been heard by the British court.
In 2013, 5,228 freedom fighters in an out of court settlement got SH 2.7 billion as compensation from the UK. In the dismissal ruling, Justice Stewart of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court said the time difference when the alleged torture and suffering happened and when the complainants filed the case was too long to have a competent trial take place.
One of the Claimant only known as TC34 in the suit said that he was forced to work at Mackinon Road,Mwea nad Gathigiri without remuneration. He also said he witnessed the violent rape of a young girl. In the Judge’s summary of TC34’s evidence, it shows that he was detained at Fort Jesus,Mukoe Camp in Lamu and Hola where he was assaulted.
“It is difficult, given the loss of witness and documents over time, to determine up to when there could have been a fair trial of some or all of TC34’s claims. Had the claim been brought in, Say, the 1970s or even later, the evidential position then obtaining would have had to be examined in the sort of detail in which it has now been done. What is clear is that there cannot now be a fair trial of any of the core allegations. That is because of the delay,” said the Judge.
However, Lawyers representing the freedom fighters stated that the complainant had no capacity by then to initiate the suit and are not well versed with the English language.
“They are illiterate, do not speak English to a conversation standard, are unsophisticated and are largely impecunious in terms of being able to fund a legal action against the UK government,” said the lawyers.
The freedom fighters’ patron, Kabage now sees no reason to celebrate the annual Mashujaa day when those who fought to liberate the country from the hands of the atrocities of the colonialists are suffering and languishing in poverty. He has called upon the Kenyan government to intervene in the matter.