History of Kenya
The Kenya whose official name is Jamhuri ya Kenya (Republic of Kenya), is a State in East Africa, bordered on the North by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the East by Somalia and the Indian Ocean, to the South by Tanzania, to the West by Lake Victoria and Uganda.
The first human traces on Kenyan soil belong to nomadic tribes from Ethiopia almost two thousand years before Christ. Ancestors of other tribes came from every part of Africa between 500 BC and 500 AD.
Afterwards the Kenya was populated by a number of tribal groups who, despite having different origins, shared the same area: Kikuyu, Gusii, Meru, Kamba, Samburu, Turkana, Luo, Maasai. The bantu populations (such as the Gusii, the Kikuyu, Kamba and Meru) arrived from West Africa, while those of nilota language (Maasai, Luo, Samburu and Turkana) from the Nile Valley, in southern Sudan.
Since 700 AD, Arab and Shirazi ancient Persia, they began to beat the coasts of Eastern Africa, with commercial shipments (see “Zanguebar the land of the Zanj“); here many families were born from the union of ancient merchants with indigenous women and that’s how it was born what today is considered one of the richest cultures of ancient Africa: Swahili culture.
After the 11th century traders and colonists from the Arabian peninsula and Persia Shirazis founded several City-States along the coast called “Coast of Zenj” (Blacks), including Malindi and Mombasa. Over time it developed a mixed Arab-culture exemplified by the bantu swahili hybrid language, still today the official language of the country. Independent from one another, the City-State soon fell under the domination of non-African Empires. One of these was the Sultanate of Oman for centuries in competition with the Europeans to get on ascendancy. Until the 19th century, however, no foreign people are seized of allowing the population to escape the Arab slavers that focused further South.
Lured by the scent of spices and money, the Portuguese, after the discovery of the Portuguese Navigator and Explorer Vasco da Gama via circumafricana to India (1498), began to take an interest in the area around the 15th century and remained there until 1631. So between 1505 and 1507 much of the coast was occupied by the Portuguese, while the Highlands of the Interior in the 17th century they were joined by sedentary farmers such as the kikuyu and kamba. Later, in the 18th century, in the Rift Valley and the Aberdare Highlands settled the warlike Maasai.
The Portuguese imposed a tough long colonial regime, placing a Sultan against each other. But the Lusitan control over the region was always precariously balanced, since the coast was for a long period the subject of contention for commercial reasons between the Arab populations and the Portuguese themselves. The Arabs were able to regain total control on coastal regions in 1720.
With the invasion of Africa by Europeans, even the mysterious inner regions of Kenya were conquered. The companies formed from the various tribes were organized into clans and, although the warrior was a dominant figure, were never large armies. No one was able to oppose a tenacious resistance to the Europeans conquerors.
British zone of influence by the end of the 19th century, the coastal area of Kenya became the protectorate in 1895, with Nairobi as administrative and political centre, while the inside had the status of a possession. Only in 1920, possession and protectorate (colony become) took the name of Kenya. Initially, the interest of the British against Kenya was limited to the need to build a railway network between Mombasa and Kampala, that would efficiently exploit rich resources of Uganda. These ambitions convinced the British to negotiate a treaty with the Laibon (Chief spiritual medicine man) Masai, because they have granted the right to build this railway, intended to pass on pasturelands of the tribe. The central point of the railway is in the area on which now stands the city of Nairobi.
In 1896 the British actually began the construction of the Uganda Railway, which ended the December 19, 1901. Throughout the covered railway 935 kilometers.
At the beginning of the new century British colonialism began the systematic exploitation of the lands, to the detriment of the peoples who had always inhabited. European colonization in the early 1900s resulted, at least in the beginning, a dud but over time and with economic-productive strategies, the British were able to improve their colony.
As in the other British colonies, the role played by white settlers is decisive for the aggravation of racism and suppression of any dissent. One of the first moves of the colonial authority is to disrupt any community ties, forcing local chiefs who, in Exchange for loyalty to the British order, acquire land and work and extensive rights of local people (among them the right to manage the recruitment for building all the infrastructure of the country). Clearly these clothes are now considered illegal and figures, because of the way they govern very authoritarian, are soon also hated by the local population.
From the outset the European settlers need not only of fertile land, but especially abundant manpower and low cost he worked their land. For this is effective immediately the establishment of class squatters, i.e. local laborers. These are allowed to reside in European property and use a portion of land to grow it or allevarvi their animals, in return they guarantee work performance.
Initially these measures guarantee the colonists to the good performance of their agricultural property, but later begins to imagine the danger of growing community of squatters that could threaten the British colonial rule. Fearing that the squatters could claim the rights of renters, the white settlers were new legislative measures that restrict the already small number of animals that they can breed, progressively increasing the working days at the farms.
The domineering working conditions to which the Kenyan population is reduced and the pressing demands of fertile land by white settlers, along with racial segregation, which excluded basically from Africans all rights of property, forced the various Kenyan ethnic groups within increasingly reduced reserves, turning the central region of the country into real White Highlands.
In 1902, the “Land Acquisition Order” allowed the white settlers coming from Britain, Canada and Australia to buy the most fertile land in the country. Not only that, thanks to the complicity of Lord Delamere (see Lake Elementaita) had obtained political supremacy over the Legislative Council created after Kenya had ceased to be a protectorate and was placed under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office.
At the end of the first world war the 1% of the Kenyan population consisted of white Europeans who owned 25% of the arable land, especially land located in the fertile Highlands of the country. In the Legislative Council Kenyan tribes had just four representatives, against the nine that were up to Europeans. The situation became dramatic for the Kenyan indigenous population, it was widely used and production for export was obviously monopolized by Europeans.
While the Europeans emphasized their large plantations in the country, the natives were growing, on average, just four or five acres per family (in some average reserves down to one hectare). Many plots of land were also taken from the Kikuyu, a bantu tribe devoted to agriculture from the Highlands to the West of Mount Kenya.
The Kikuyu are the largest ethnic group in the country. It is said that its founder, the legendary Gikuyu, divine spirit was brought to the peak of the volcano Ngai Kirinyaga (kikuyu language means “mountain of whiteness”) – English Mount Kenya.
To the divine spirit Gikuyu Ngai gave married a beautiful woman named Mumbi, their nine daughters would have given rise to the major ethnic groups in Kenya.
The Kikuyu tribal organization is based on the family (Yumba), however the woman is submissive to her husband. Many families make up a farm, divided into subgroups and clans, with a Council of elders (Kiama), the only suitable body to resolve all internal disputes, and a secret Council called Njama. Circumcision is a practice carried out on both males and females. Indeed, male circumcision is essential so that a young kikuyu can join the Group of adults and therefore have responsibility within the community, fight in the event of war, freely choose a wife and be part of the Council of elders, or enter the Njama.
A particular ritual marks the birth of a Kikuyu: If the baby is male, the mother after childbirth launches five shouts of joy; While if it is female cries decrease to four. Shortly after birth, her husband collects four fields (if female) or five (for a male) cane, whose juice is poured in very small amounts directly into the mouth of the newborn. Growth stages are differentiated by a specific dance that varies according to the evolutionary phases. Each dance is held in different ways: for example, young people more grownups can dance during the day and only on special occasions, while smaller they can do it on a daily basis but only at sunset.
At the age of sixteen-eighteen males are ready for the rite of circumcision, while for women the female circumcision is practiced when they still haven’t had the first menstruation. The Rite follows a well-defined and followed by the entire village.
To conclude this short trip around the Kikuyu, remember that there is only one God, the famous Ngai that lives on top of Mount Kirinyaga without attending to the vicissitudes of his creatures. However, the Kikuyu pray always addressing face towards the great volcano as a sign of respect.
The most emblematic event, which marks the beginning of the struggle of the Kenyan people to achieve the swahili word Uhuru, which means “freedom”, is stopping Harry Thuku, head of the Association of Young Kikuyu. Already the day of arrest in March 1922, a spontaneous crowd gathers in front of the police station in Nairobi demanding the liberation of young kikuyu.
The police shoot killing twenty-one people, but the Kenyans claim that the dead are more than a hundred. Starting from this event, popular gatherings, chiara politically motivated against the British colonial authority, began to be more and more numerous. More protests concerning forced labour to which many Kenyans are subjected and the imposition of “hut tax” (I mean, what is now the I.C.I. in Italy), that most of the natives is unable to pay.
In 1924 the movement of “Kikuyu Central Association” (KCA): begins the struggle organized to reach Uhuru. The KCA, to achieve its purposes, collaborates with the “Tax-payer Kavirondo Welfare Association”, formed by movement of the Luo tribe, the second Kenyan ethnicity in order of magnitude. The Assembly denounces British colonial policy of tribal Division, calling for the creation of a Central Council of the natives. These claims are accepted by British authorities. However a new project for the confiscation of other land to be used for settlements of colonists was already in port.
The controversy erupted in 1929, concerning female circumcision practiced by tribes in Kenya, denounced by the Church, was immediately considered a further heavy interference in local traditions. This leads to the formation of new religious movements as opposed to the same Christian Church, but especially at birth of independent schools where many young people grow and feed on African nationalism.
In Kenya, meanwhile, various movements that challenge the British presence. The former are spiritual matrix, the most famous is the “Deni ya Roho”, namely the “cult of the Holy Ghost”. From this, starting in 1935, other movements including the “Deni ya Musmaba”, or the “cult of the dead”. The spiritual master soon becomes political in nature. Here are many organised political groups appear in opposition to colonial authorities. All ethnicities present we organize: the Kikuyu have the KCA, the Luo “Kavirondo Central Association”, the “Kamba Ukamba Members Association” and, finally, the Taita ethnicity “Taita Jills Association”. In 1940 the British Government banning these organizations and, taking as a pretext an alleged of collaboration with the Italian Consulate in Nairobi does stop 23 managers. The British initiative is a bad move that allows Kenyans to amplify the fight for emancipation.
Meanwhile a new political organization, the stronger and better organized than the previous starts to make its first timid steps: “Kenya African Study Union”, founded by Eliud Jr, first African member of the Legislative Council of colonial Kenya. In 1946 the organization takes the final name of “Kenya African Union” (KAU), with the first President Harry Thuku. The KAU includes people of almost all ethnic groups of the country, but in essence is dominated by the Kikuyu. Its a Kikuyu, Jomo Kenyatta, will take the leadership of the movement succeeding in writing new pages of history to the Kenyan people, helping to make Kenya its renaissance.
The first name of the future “father of Kenya” Kamau wa Ngengi is. Born in 1890, or maybe three years later in 1893, near Ichaweri, a border area between the indigenous world of Kenyan tribes and the white settlers. Five or six years ends in a Christian mission held from Scottish fathers: you don’t know with precision if abandoned by their parents, or because the little is lost during the seasonal migrations. In this quest the small kikuyu is baptized as Western flavour by Johnstone Kamau. By Guy makes the Carpenter in Nairobi, but there are many crafts that young Johnstone does in his life, including the hired help in a House by a Westerner.
Past thirty years begins to practice politics in 1922, enrolling in the Kikuyu Central Association – KCA (Kikuyu Central Association), Harry Thuku movement that defends the right of blacks to the restitution of lands taken by settlers. In 1924 he became Secretary of the KCA.
Over the years his political activism increases, so you want to go to London, none other than Parliament or the head of Government, to ask in the name of his people more just relations between natives and white settlers and, especially, the Kenyan British Parliament representatives. Meanwhile he founded and directs a kikuyu language newspaper, Muigwithania, which launches its nationalistic ideas. Johnstone Kamau now called now Jomo Kenyatta: “Jomo” means “flaming Lance”, while the “Kenyatta” is a beaded belt that the Kenyan leader always carries with itself.
Initially the political propaganda of not much bothers Kenyatta colonial authorities, but only religious ones. In fact the young Jomo begins to interpret the Christian Bible as appropriate and indigenous viewpoints: the rites increasingly resemble those Pagans, admits the polygamy, enhances the Kenyan nationalism.
In the 1930s, thanks to a collection of tribes, Jomo Kenyatta went on to study anthropology at Oxford. Here, in 1937, he graduated with a thesis entitled “Facing Mount Kenya,” an ethnography of his ethnic group, the Kikuyu, describing history and culture according to their categories of British anthropology. During his stay in Europe, Kenyatta knows Paul Robenson, cantatas and composer of American spirituals, Peter Abrahams, a fervent South African anticolonialist, the Lords Webb, founders of a movement for the defence of human rights, but especially the great anthropologist of Polish Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski. A trip to Moscow, however, starts at the Communist International. In 1946 he returned home determined to political struggle.
Meanwhile begin on a large scale the swearing-in ceremonies of the Mau Mau. The Mau Mau movement was founded in 1951, at the Kikuyu tribe, as a military organization hostile to foreigners conquerors.
This organization, founded on the model of the first masonic lodges, was a secret society of resistance to colonialism. Generalissimo of the Mau Mau movement Dedan Waciuri Kimathi was nicknamed “Ciui” (Leopard), arrested with one of his wives and hanged by the British colonial authorities on February 18, 1957.
The movement referred to religious practices, especially for sacral constraints to which you submitted the adherents, then cultural and traditional Kikuyu tribe. However, his action was more political than religious. The group, in fact, founded mainly in order to counteract the alienation of indigenous lands by the colonial Government in favour of white planters.
A factor contributing to design and characterize the physiognomy of the Mau Mau is that concerning the utilization and dissemination of oaths and their initiation ceremonies. Among the oaths are shown the Ndemwa Ithatu (Oath of Unity) through which members of the movement, pledging to fight for the achievement of the aims set out – i.e. the expulsion of whites from Kenyan territories, its focus on unit; the oath called the Batuni (Platoon), whose purpose is to prepare young people to physical strength in armed struggle.
The practice of the oath, as mentioned, has a huge organisational potential, since it allows to quantify daily numerical forces of the movement and, at the same time, it assumes the value of vote of solidarity that binds the fighters even in the most terrible adversity.
Initiation to the sect included a precise ritual that the ceremonial riannodava of various ancient cults in Kenya: the initiate had to pass through an arch entwined, after it was done seven times, rotating around his head, raw goat meat. Initiation ended with the reading of a formula of oath that nearly ended as follows:
“I swear to fight for the lands that were taken by force by the white man and if I were to fail in this, can this oath kill me, may kill me for seven times, can this meat kill me”.
It is likely that the name Mau Mau comes precisely from this oath. In fact, the Warrior-affiliated to the questions asked during the rite of initiation meet muma muma, kikuyu language means “I swear”.
Later this formula was enlarged by inserting the oath to kill indiscriminately, in the name of their land without asking questions on the orders of superiors; to accept any punishment if he were revealed any secret association.
The “Mau Mau rebellion” lives on two types of atrocities: the ruthless guerrilla in thickets and terrorism in big cities. In practice the Mau Mau they terrorized European settlers and sympathizers of white Kenyans with massacres, tribal violence and destruction, provoking a harsh response, just as terrorist by the British authorities. Terror in Kenya at this time was the face of the same coin: whites against Blacks and blacks against whites (but also blacks against blacks). The racist message was unequivocal. The Mau Mau terror undoubtedly hastened Kenyan independence, giving the paintings to her self.
The “Olenguorone crisis“, a Department that extends around Nakuru in the Rift Valley and whose ownership of the right of possession is claimed in vain by the Kikuyu, from a strong acceleration at the birth of the Mau Mau movement. In practice, at the end of 1948, the claim of the territory of Olenguorone, and its strategy to adopt to obtain possession, divides the Kenya African Union: moderates prefer the political struggle, even if convinced that it would be endless, radical activists are for strong methods and certainly more hasty.
The killing in Nairobi by a “muzungu” (as they are called white settlers) and the assassination of Chief Waruhiu (i.e. a local Chief, a loyal supporter and kikuyu character of British colonial administration), marks the real baptism of blood of Kenya’s Liberation Army.
The Mau Mau movement, which from the start has about fifteen thousand guerrillas who take refuge in the thick forests around Mount Kenya and the Aberdare territory (in the Eastern Rift Valley), have another great help in their struggle, provided by the so-called “Passive Wing” (passive Wing of the movement), i.e. people who while not participating directly in the armed struggle, providing moral support and technical and logistical support to the guerrillas. Are the elderly and children, but mostly kikuyu women of the tribe.
Great and exemplary is the role played by women kikuyu in the fight against the invader. Their contribution to the liberation struggle turns to the tasks of medical assistance, material and logistics to the guerrillas, some of them instead contribute directly to the resistance and to take up arms personally fighting against the English. Their courage is often overshadowed by the deeds of men-Mau Mau guerrillas.
They dig trenches at night through walls of barbed wire in protected villages or create hidden passages to reach and cater men in the forest; steal weapons from white farms where they work; cover men in their activities and deprive themselves of their daily meal to pass it to men in the Bush. Death is also a chance for them, torture and sexual violence, instead, a disease that often are called to face.
In Kenya there are many now protest groups against British colonial policy. In these movements, however, lacks a charismatic political figure who organized the protest. And here’s Jomo Kenyatta, now back at home, organize opposition movements by strengthening the Kenya Africa Union-KAU. With Kenyatta driving, the protest movement’s intensity increases not only in Nairobi, but also in Central provinces and among the natives who worked in the White Highlands. A first major strike is organized in the port of Mombasa, repressed by the colonial authorities in the blood.
In 1951, during the visit of the Secretary of the colonies sir James Griffiths, the KAU ago affected his voice, asking the Crown representative some bold claims: most jobs ladies for Kenyans, the prohibition of all forms of racial discrimination, aid for education, eight new representatives in addition to the five already existing in the Legislative Council. No request is received.
As a result of this refusal the Mau Mau terror begins to grow in intensity, not only towards the settlers were often destroy their property, but also to Africans loyal to the British Government. Because the guerrillas have only bow, arrow and panga – a large knife used in the normally deadly country – the first to be affected were police stations, where the guerrillas ‘ possession of weapons for the fight. Other privileged targets are initially livestock and most isolated farms of white settlers and colonists loyal to the Kenyans. The ranks of the Mau Mau began to be added, to some extent, also members of different tribes from Kikuyu, “Mau Mau” rebellion enters its most acute phase so as to declare, the October 21, 1952, sir Evelyn Baring – Governor of Cologne – the “State of emergency” with the nightly curfew. That same night, Jomo Kenyatta and other nationalists were arrested and 82 brought in the Court of the District police station in Nairobi.
Among the disputed charges to Kenyatta there is also accused of being one of the leaders of the Mau Mau organization. The future “father of Kenya” denies his involvement in the Mau Mau movement, while acknowledging the legitimacy of their struggle, and, despite a large College of international lawyers, pleaded guilty April 8, 1953 and sentenced to seven years ‘ imprisonment and hard labour. The same KAU is declared “out-law.” Unlike British expectations, Kenyatta’s arrest boosts the rebellion: about three thousand Kenyans embrace the Mau Mau case.
One of the most infamous episodes of British colonial history in Kenya about its treatment of Mau Mau prisoners. Torture, illegal detentions, even outside the Kikuyu armed movement are reported later from the British press.
To justify the British gruesomeness builds a distorted image of Mau Mau guerrillas: make sure you are criminally insane killing women and children indiscriminately, that are of pots and even cannibals. Most British newspapers spreading alarming news about the cruelty of the guerrillas kikuyu: you write that the white population and Kenyans are loyalists massacred by the bestiality of the Mau Mau.
In fact only thirty-two whites are the victims of armed movement during the eight years. In short, the image of the Mau Mau rebels fight is portrayed as a struggle of civilization against barbarism more brutal. The desire for power and white racism is radicalized into a “qualifying supremacy”. The Mau Mau terror becomes proportional to British violence in Kenya.
Between successive colonial Government took measures against the spread of the Mau Mau Rebellion, in addition to the establishment of concentration camps and villages protected with barbed wire, the recruitment of more than twenty thousand “Home Guard”, which is a Kenyan sort of national guard recruited mostly from the kikuyu ethnic group. This last move brings the Country to the brink of civil war, dividing the tribes and creating within strong contrasts that greatly facilitate the task of repression carried out by the British colonial authorities.
Deportation is the first rule to survive in Kenya. The decision to deport civilian populations in protected villages kikuyu is inspired directly from the policy adopted by General Templer to crush the guerrillas in Malaysia during the insurrection that occurred locally starting in the 1940s.
The largest internment operation occurs on April 24, 1954, when the British army, assisted by the Home Guard, cleans up Nairobi and its suburbs from all kikuyu. In the military operation, called “Anvil” forty thousand men and 20,000 women and children are ripped from their miserable homes and forcibly conducted first in temporary camps, then in various types of detention camps or in protected reserves. All fields, according to official statements of the British colonial authorities, have the declared function of rehabilitation.
In late 1955 the concentration and internment are large, just around Nairobi, 20; While the largest women and girls lies a few kilometers Camiti from the capital. As was the case in Nazi concentration camps and Soviet internment system works thanks to the active collaboration that the British were given by some inmates themselves.
Within the military, Britons and “Africans sold”, practice interviews, torture inhuman and chilling especially sexual violence.
Interrogations, the so-called “screening”, have had a well-defined function to terrorize the population, to obtain information on the Mau Mau movement and, especially, to justify the subsequent detention of the suspects: of course it is not easy to overcome the “screening” and most of the questioning ended up yielding confessing guilt or complicity even invented.
Women were subject to inhumane sexual violence. Their function within the fields and villages protected has been to bury the dead, fingerprints to detect corpses rotting, carry all kinds of things. The torture and sexual violence, even with snakes and broken bottles, were the specific form of their dehumanization.
Just like Auschwitz and similar survival strategies implemented by prisoners are the most varied: cultivate their religion in secret, low voice intone National Patriotic or religious songs, designing communication systems between inmates, bribe the guards to Exchange food rations and blankets with pens, paper, medicines, newspapers, correspondence.
The deportation to concentration camps and villages protected allows the British colonial authorities had the upper hand on the Mau Mau guerrillas, so that at the end of 1955 does not remain free in the mountains that a few thousand diehard fighters.
After a long time, even in England began to spread the voice of the conditions in which they live the kikuyu deportees. The first to publicly denounce the situation are Labour MEPs Fenner Brockway and Barbara Castle. These reports follow those Quaker’s Eileen Fletcher and some missionaries, the captain of Police Reserves of Kenya Philip Meldon. However, despite the complaints of Brockway, Castle, protests of Fletcher on the living conditions of children and elderly people and sexual torture against women, the revelations of Captain Meldon on life in concentration camps, never arrived at admission, by the British authorities, of crimes committed in Kenya. From Government seems, as usual, it was admitted that these crimes were isolated cases and however committed mostly by African Loyalists, tired of the Mau Mau terror. In any case, according to the official version of Britain, British officers in Kenya have not had to deal with these crimes.
Still do not know yet precisely the exact number of victims that the brutality of British anti-terrorist action did among the civilian population. In fact, in 1963, just before the start of the phase of decolonisation of Kenya, almost all official documentation testifying torture and sexual violence was intentionally destroyed or made to disappear. Also the archives of the Ministry of African Affairs and the Ministry of prisons were promptly reclaimed from compromising documents concerning the system of detention and treatment of prisoners in Africa.
Official data show about twelve thousand guerrillas killed in combat, but in fact the victims were hundreds of thousands not only among the guerrillas, but also among the detained civilians died from the horrific conditions inside the protected villages and camps.
Back to events in the British colony of Kenya.
The January 18, 1953 Governor Baring also decreed the death penalty for anyone who takes the oath Mau Mau. This measure is part of a series of emergency measures, the “Emergency Regulations”, taken from January until April 1953.
To mitigate the rebellion, the new Colonial Secretary sir Oliver Lyttelton offers a document (known as “Constitution Lyttelton”) in which the different ethnicities of the country can form a kind of “Council of Ministers” to represent and defend the local populations at the colonial authorities. This decision does nothing but aggravate the situation because it divides the white settlers into two factions, one opposed and one in favour of the document. In 1955, in June, the colonial authorities to encourage the orderly development of political life in Kenya, gives permission to the formation of political parties in the various districts, with the exception of the Central Province stronghold of the Mau Mau.
This to outvote the same Mau Mau movement. The following year a new colonial law assigns eight seats in Legislative Council representatives elected by African Kenyans of eight provinces of the country.
Obtained these little “extra touches” in Kenya to protest, this time for the release of Jomo Kenyatta. Numerous violent protests occur within the country with a dramatic budget: thousands of Kenyans and hundreds of Europeans die in accidents. To these are added the Mau Mau terror victims.
The Government cede to protesters and takes off in the 1960 “State of emergency”, freeing the 15 August of the year after Jomo Kenyatta. Kenya is now one step away from independence.
Now free, the Kenyatta a guide November 6, 1961 delegation from the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the new name of KAU, at Lancaster House in London to demand the independence of the country. After endless negotiations and threats, the coveted arrives December 12, 1963 independence. Kenya becomes the 34th African State that achieves its independence. The December 12, 1964 Kenya is officially a Republic, and Jomo Kenyatta becomes the first President.
He died on August 22, 1978.
Around the Mau Mau have circulated urban legends and popular myths, drawing the Kikuyu rebels now as the guerrillas, now Patriots as bloodthirsty hysterics. The history of the greatest generals, Dedan Kimathi, kikuyu is shrouded in myth. He was the last to be captured by the British.
Since young to Dedan fought in the ranks of the Mau Mau against white settlers. He did it with the pride of a kikuyu Warrior, until calling himself “Commander of the armies of Kenya free”. Kimathi is not a crude and violent bloodthirsty guerrilla. He attended government schools, learning to speak perfect English, then goes from the Christian fathers of Protestant missions. Just kid embraces the cause of his people and the Mau Mau oath. Is unbiased as guerrilla war, proving to whites fear not though better armed.
When all military leaders are arrested Mau Mau British troops of the “Special Branch” remains only in the forest with fifty men and his six wives, hunted like a wild beast ferocious with planes and guns. Kimathi ponders a striking blow to save himself and his soldiers: want to take hostage the Princess Margaret, housed in the Outspan Hotel Nyeri. Send there his youngest wife, Wangiti, for an inspection. The woman is arrested. At the same time the head of the “Special Branch”, Jan Handerson, orders a massive reprisal bombing forest. Kimathi’s soldiers, one at a time they are caught, or afraid to die or defect. The generalissimo stands alone. Handerson, to flush Kimathi, enlists hundreds of Kenyan prisoners who so well know the forest. The generalissimo is reached and wounded by a gunshot. Captured is conducted before the colonial authorities. To express the end of “Mau Mau rebellion” organizes the performance of the process. Kimathi die hanged on February 18, 1957.
At the end of the “Mau Mau rebellion” over ten thousand guerrillas are killed, the indigenous millesessantotto judged and executed, while trecentotrentatre Europeans are victims of violence. For the Mau Mau this tragic toll gave Kenya the coveted Uhuru although the price was very high. For each organization that struggle for liberation of their own country is always worth it!
Mau Mau to Court of Justice in London
Mutwiwa Ndiku Mutua, Paulo Nzili Muoko, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara from 2009 asking the Supreme Court a chance to bring English a lawsuit against the British Government. The charge: the torture suffered by them and by other Mau Mau rebels in the years ‘ 50, at the time of the uprising that much wire to twist gave the British in Kenya. A few days ago, a first victory: go-ahead of the judiciary process, it can be done.
But let’s take a step back: the Mau Mau were born between the two world wars as a sect, fierce, violent and skilled in warfare. Ready for anything, even death. Solidarity between them. Since 1953, turned bows and arrows, but also stolen rifles to settlers, against the British convicted of stealing their fertile lands of Kenya. Then also attacked Africans considered spies or white friends.
The Crown shook when, in 1957, the movement kidnapped even Margareth, sister of the Queen Mother. In February of that year, their leader was killed and the movement was channeled in the Kenyan independence movement.
The repression was brutal. According to the tale of 4 elderly people after seventy ethnic Kikuyi, in prison camps operated by the British between 1952 and 1961, would make all sorts of atrocities. Mutual and Nzili have told of being castrated, had been beaten Nyingi until losing consciousness in the same condition in which eleven other men had been killed by blows. Mara was the victim of sexual violence. Some estimates speak of 15 thousand Kenyans killed, other 20 thousand. Tens of thousands more tortured.
Now decades later, English justice is ready to open a trial. Why? Focuses the question Beatrice Nicolini of the Catholic University of Milan: “On the one hand, there is an intellectual stimulation within Britain, with research conducted by professor Anderson of Oxford, which for years is looking for documentation of torture. Then there is the international factor: the kenyan origins of Barak Obama, the fact that his grandfather had been involved in the repression, which would give the Mau Mau international support”.
And then, an X factor, all African: “There is a desire for a post colonial revenge – explains Nicolini – but a necessity to understand, to recognize where he was evil. Find out who was killing who. Cross a pain leading to reconciliation, which is a path all African “.
In short, the basis of all there is the desire to go back to go forward. Now the ball is in British courts. But a given is certain: between the former colonial powers, Britain shows, at least, the sense of history. After an apology for the tragic events of the Irish Bloody Sunday, the trial of its African colony management. The story is also so rewrites. Making mea culpa.
Giampaolo Musumeci: photographer, journalist and Videomaker deals with wars and African issues.
The Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, the lawsuit against London for torture.
London – After nearly half a century, hoping to finally have justice. The High Court in London gave the green light to lawsuit by four elderly Kenyans against the British Government, accused of torture during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s. The four Kenyans – Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara – all between 70 and 80 years of age – who told in a prison camp run by the British between 1952 and 1961 would make any kind of atrocity. Mutual and Nzili stated they were castrated, had been beaten Nyingi until losing consciousness in an episode in which 11 other men were beaten to death while Mara has claimed she was the victim of horrific sexual harassment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs – who claims not to be considered legally responsible – had asked the judges to consider the validity of the case and they have decided to give the go ahead to the cause. Leigh Day, a lawyer of the victims, argues that British officials were aware of what was happening and that they even sent the army to participate in the camps to torture and collective punishment. David Anderson, a professor at the University of Oxford, said that the British governors had decided to use “torture and abuse as normal and systematic practices” and that only afterwards had changed laws, introducing emergency regulations to cover these practices. The documents relating to these events, said the Professor, “reveal the law changes and the addition of emergency regulations had been made at a later date to cover practices in the camps and detention centres were already customary”.
In revolt exploded in 1952 Kikuyi fighters had attacked political opponents and done pillaging settlers properties with the aim of re-seize the lands taken from British authorities. Britain was then declared a State of emergency and gave away to a ruthless repression, killing up to 20,000 people and rinchiudendone dozens of thousands in labor camps. Legal liability of what happened had been transferred by the British to the new Government of independent Kenya in 1963 and it is for this reason that the Foreign Ministry refuses to assume the responsibility of torture.
War crimes, the Mau Mau ask justice after 60 years.
NAIROBI – Five veterans of Kenya’s Mau Mau guerrillas went to Britain last month to sue the British Government for judgemental imprisonments and tortures committed to their damage 60 years ago. In 1950 Britain was trying desperately to preserve its colonial empire and subdued in a terrifyingly brutal nationalist rebellion in Kenya. The Kenyan Commission on human rights is pursuing the case. George Morara, of the legal team, said: “After the horrors of the Nazi era, Britain had a central role in the creation of an international legal system to defend human rights. How could a country at the forefront in developing these standards, continue to commit horrendous torture in Kenya? The Government of the time defended himself claiming to be unaware of what was happening. This would not be accepted as an excuse for the crimes committed in Iraq or in Guantanamo. There was no justification for the actions which made some of the victims blind and amputarono to other arts. The British soldiers have neutered men and raped women. These are very serious human rights violations and the British Government should be called to account”.
Gitu wa Kahengeri, head of the Association of the Mau Mau war veterans, he said: “In August 1950 the colonialists did pass a law describing the Mau Mau as a dangerous organization. This law remained in our law manuals even after independence, until 2003. Today only the Mau Mau may register and organizations meet legally in our country. Our country was occupied by the British for nearly 70 years. They were newcomers. They could stay here as business people but wanted to control our land. In 1948 we have given life to an underground movement by recruiting people from around the country to send via the colonial power”. In October 1952, the British authorities, terrified by the rebellion that was emerging launched a military crackdown. Persecuted and imprisoned all leaders of African nationalists, conservatives as well as the radicals.
How many secret organizations the Mau Mau forced members to take a loyalty oath. In twisted racist thinking of colonial powers, was the oath that brought Africans, otherwise payable, to rebel. Oliver Lyttleton, Secretary of State of the colonies at the time, had said: “The Mau Mau oath is the most beastly, filthy, nauseating magic minds pervertitrice that can be tramata”. The detention system should force the Mau Mau supporters to renounce their oath and abandon the rebellion. In practice, any hope of “reintegration” was replaced by forced labour, torture and revenge. Up to 160,000 Kenyans are passed in those fields. Gitu said: “Since I was arrested in 1952, I was detained in several concentration camps: Athi River, Lodwar and Takwa on Manda island. That field was special, for leaders of the Mau Mau movement. I was there with ogi We Achieng and Ram with Pio Gama Pinto”. The lifting of the Mau Mau is often described as a tribal rebellion which was only part of the Kikuyu ethnic group. But the followers of Gitu had origins Luo and Asian too. The Mau Mau war veterans come from different ethnic groups Kenyans.
Also the image, common among the British, a depraved orgy of violence against the peaceful settlers is contradicted by official estimates of deaths. In 1952 the British declared “emergency situation” which lasted until 1960. At this time white and 32 civilians were killed 26 Asian, along with white 63 army members and African 527 “loyal” to the British. The officials admitted that the rebels were killed African 11,503 – while the Kenyan Commission for Human Rights estimated that the real figure is close to 90,000 people. John Nottingham was a colonial civil servant during the “emergency situation” but is now highly critical of human rights violations carried out by the British and went to Britain with the Mau Mau veterans. Asked if British forces have committed human rights abuses during the emergency, he replied: “If you launch a phosphorus bomb in a straw hut with a family that sleeps in is not a violation of human rights, I do not know what it is”.
Gitu recalls the forced labor that was forced to make. “We built roads. We have built international airport in poor conditions and without the equipment; Some were beaten to death. They wanted us to die there. The aim was to suppress the movement “. The civil war broke out between the “loyalists” of heavily armed civil guard and the Mau Mau with their supporters. There was also another element that strengthened the conflict. The Loyalists took the best land in the reserves and were encouraged to accuse local enemies of the Mau Mau affiliation since those who were condemned as rebels, the lands were confiscated. (Zachary Ochieng, translation by Ludovica Jona).
Exclusively by News from Africa
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