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Mau Mau victims seek compensation

Every June 1st, Kenyans from all backgrounds join to celebrate Madaraka Day, a day the country achieved internal self-governance from the white man’s rule after being a British colony since 1920.

Of great importance to remember on this day are the men and women who sacrificed their lives to fight the white man so as to gain independence.

Most of the people who were physically involved in the struggle for independence have since died, but their children, who witnessed the struggle, live to tell the tales.

Mama Fedelis Naimondo, 80, remembers how her parents hid her and her siblings in the forest to avoid being taken by the white men to exile.

“The white men’s soldiers used to put on shorts and transported people to faraway areas from their homes. Those transported were forced to carry jembes and pangas, a sign that they were to be involved in manual jobs,” she recalls.

Mama Naimondo says her mother suffered from the brutal attack by the white men and died in 2020 while nursing an injury she suffered during the struggle for independence.

“I have never seen most of my relatives who were taken to exile by the white man to date. Though I was a young child, I vividly recall the struggle we passed through under the white man’s rule,” she said.

The elderly woman who lives in the Ololulunga area of Narok South Sub County calls on the government to compensate the Mau Mau, as they sacrificed their lives and property for the country to gain independence.

Her husband, Ole Naimondo, reiterates the same ordeal, saying the white men would move from house to house looking for the warriors who were fighting them while forcing women and children to reveal their whereabouts.

However, because they had vowed not to reveal the community’s secrets, the children refused to reveal the whereabouts of their fathers, causing them to be beaten thoroughly.

“What pains me most is that the government did not compensate our parents, and we are now of age without any form of compensation from the government,” he says.

Mama Elizabeth Kaaria, 70, says she respects Madaraka Day because it reminds her of the struggle her parents passed through so that the country could gain independence.

Though she was a young girl when Kenya gained independence, Mama Karia recalls how people were mistreated, killed, and the lucky ones taken to prison by the white man.

Because of the struggle, she says many people were not privileged to join school as they spent their early days in hiding places.

Despite the struggle, the woman says no government administration has ever compensated them by either giving them monetary compensation or land.

The Narok County Mau Mau Association secretary, Daniel Kamau, regrets that many of his members have been dying without enjoying the fruits of independence.

Kamau calls on the current administration to compensate the genuine Mau Mau fighters who sacrificed for the nation’s independence.

“We have had four administrations that promised to compensate us in vain. We are positive that the new administration under the leadership of President Dr. William Ruto will remember the Mau Mau veterans because our Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua, is the son of a Mau Mau fighter,” he says.

Kamau, whose father was killed during the struggle for independence, says he did not attend school because no one could enroll him.

“Most of us did not get an education because our parents were either killed or put in detention camps; hence, no one could take us to school,” he adds.

He reiterates that the association has 300 members, most of whom are children of Mau Mau war veterans whose parents have since died.

By Ann Salaton

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