Friday, 24 May 2013

Apologise, Britain told, but it’s spared damages over atrocities

Posted  Thursday, May 23  2013 at  21:48

The TJRC report has listed atrocities visited on Kenyans by the British colonial settlers in their bid to turn the country into a colony to advance their political and economic interests.
The report however, does not recommend reparations for thousands killed and detained during the colonial rule.
Instead, it calls for a public apology from the British government for the heinous crimes committed during the pre-independence era.
The report cites the case lodged by the Mau Mau war veterans in a UK court where the independence fighters are seeking up to Sh1 billion in reparations on behalf of thousands of Kenyans who suffered under colonialism.
Recalcitrant tribes
The report notes that the conquest of state and territory for British settlement and exploitation in Kenya was achieved through violence.
Africans were forced into submission through ‘punitive expeditions’ in the 1890s against what they called ‘recalcitrant tribes’.
There were military expeditions against the Nandi in 1901, 1905, and 1906; the Embu in 1905; the Abagusii in 1904, 1908, and 1914; the Kipsigis in 1905 and the Abagishu and Kabras in 1907.
Comments by Sir Arthur Hardinge, the first protectorate commissioner, at the height of colonial rule perhaps illustrates the mentality of the settlers to punish the locals to achieve their ends.
‘These people must learn submission by bullets — it’s the only school; after that you may begin more modern and humane methods of education,’ he said.
The result of that occupation and violence was destruction of property, rape, torture and death.
The British are also accused of carving out the most productive land for themselves and herding locals into village reserves, where torture, killings and forced labour were the order of the day.
TJRC notes that contrary to notion that the counter-insurgency was aimed at the Mau Mau, the British reportedly labelled the entire Kikuyu population as Mau Mau, thereby turning the insurgency inward into a battle of Kikuyu militants against tribe loyalists, and turning the conflict into a civil war.
Colonial loyalists
“The turning point came on the night of 26 March 1953, at Lari, which was the site of two successive massacres, the first by Mau Mau and the second by the home guards or colonial loyalists,” the report notes.
On the harrowing account of a British colonial administrator named Anderson in which at leas 400 people were killed, the Mau Mau militants herded Kikuyu men, women and children into huts and set them on fire, hacking anyone who attempted escape before throwing them back into the burning huts.
The commission notes in the report that even after the rebellion ended, the colonialists did not fully address the grievances, only allowing freedoms such as relaxing a ban on African political parties and an attempt to increase local representation in the colonial administration.

No comments:

Post a Comment