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Mau Mau grassroots registration kicks off

17 January 2014, 13:28 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - Mau Mau veterans have embarked on a grassroots registration of all independence war heroes, in readiness for the UK government’s second round of compensation set for this year.

The over 300 veterans who met Thursday in Ruring’u, Nyeri, said this is the only way to ensure that only the legitimate heroes are compensated.

The UK government in November last year announced that it would freshly be compensating the freedom fighters oppressed during the colonial period.

The veterans have high hopes that they will be shortlisted for compensation this year, but warned that the registration must be sanitized to weed out Mau Mau imposters.

General Bahati, the Mau Mau veterans Association national chairman, decried the poor living conditions of freedom fighters, saying they need to be compensated for the injustices they suffered.

“If possible, let the list go through systematic vetting so that the list given to the UK jury include all people who persevered life in the bush,” he said.

Mwai Muthigi, the Association's secretary general said they are undertaking civic education to meet the April 30, 2014 registration deadline set by the British government.

“We should be registering people at the divisional level, because most of them are old and may not be able to travel all the way to the law firm's premises in Nairobi,” Said Muthigi.

The UK government asked applicants to file their claims through a Kenyan law firm, Miller and Company Advocates, which was nominated to work on behalf of British firm, Tandem Law.

The persons targeted in this phase are those who were mistreated by colonial agents between October 20, 1952 and December 12, 1963.

“We are optimistic that the UK government will address the compensation issue with the seriousness it deserves,” said Muthigi.

In June last year, about 5,000 claimants were compensated after successfully suing the UK government for atrocities committed during the colonial era.

Thursday’s meeting came just a day after the death of another veteran, General Kimbo who was the Association’s trustee.

Kimbo, who fought in the Aberdare forest during the state of emergency, died in his late eighties while being rushed to hospital after developing a medical complication.

The Association demanded that the state accord Kimbo a state funeral since he was a hero who dedicated his life for the country’s sake.

“He died a poor man and the best justice we can accord him is a state burial,” said Bahati.

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