Sunday, March 1, 2009

The forgotten freedom fighters: Mau Mau Revisited

Launch of 7 week campaign in support of the Mau Mau Reparations Case

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) in partnership with Royal Media Services has embarked on a 7 weeks media blitz consisting of TV, Radio and Print publicity starting 24 February 2008.

The campaign is built on the platform of the Trilogy: Black Man's Land: Images of Colonization and Independence produced and directed by Anthony Howarth and David Koff, written by David Koff and narrated by Msindo Mwinyipembe. KHRC will further support the series in screening its production of Itungati - the Mau Mau story, a production of Themescape Ltd.

Schedule: The campaign runs as follows on Citizen TV

Tuesday 24 February 2009: White Man's Country Part 1 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 3 March 2009: White Man's Country Part 2 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 10 March 2009: Mau Mau Part 1 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 17 March 2009: Mau Mau Part 2 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 24 March 2009: Kenyatta Part 1 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 31 March 2009: Kenyatta Part 2 - 9.45 pm
Tuesday 7 April 2009: Itungati - the Mau Mau Story - 9.45 pm

A series of interviews of Historians, academicians and Mau Mau will take place both on Citizen TV and all 13 vernacular stations.

Why Now?

As a country, we need to accord proper national recognition to those who have played heroic roles in the socio-economic and political making of our country. There can be no denying the fact that despite the gallant role played by millions of Kenyan women and men (either directly or indirectly) in the Mau Mau movement in the fight against British colonialism, the contribution made by this important movement in Kenya's struggle for independence has not been properly recognized by successive independent Kenya Governments.

What is more, the crimes committed against the Kenya Africans who participated in the Mau Mau movement remain the great, un-remedied, injustices of Kenya's history under British colonialism. The Kenyans who suffered Britain's murder, systematic torture, mass rape, castration and general acts of violence and terror during the Mau Mau movement are still calling for justice. The call for the rightful recognition of the Mau Mau movement in Kenya has oftentimes met with resistance from both colonial and post-colonial forces who fear that such recognition is likely to expose the levels of atrocities visited on the Mau Mau during the colonial era or challenge the legitimacy of those holding the reigns of political power in the post-colonial era under the false credentials of having been freedom fighters. Be that as it may, we remain confident that the Mau Mau series will help keep alive KHRCs sustained demand for justice for the Mau Mau heroes and heroines who suffered acts of criminal atrocity during Britain's suppression of the Mau Mau movement.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission has remained steadfast in its quest to have the Mau Mau movement's rightful place in Kenya's history and politics duly recognized. Since 1997, the Kenya Human Rights Commission has been at the forefront in demanding that the Government of Kenya accord the Mau Mau movement its rightful place in Kenya's socio-economic and political consciousness. What is more, in this series, the KHRC will have the pleasure of partnering with Royal Media Services [through Citizen TV and Citizen Radio] to situate the issue of Mau Mau within a broader national context that examines both the historical and contemporary relevance of the Mau Mau movement within the Kenyan nation-state.

Second, this series plays an important role in reminding all Kenyans of our sacred duty to defend our hard-won freedom. The series cannot have come at a better time since, as a country, we recently witnessed the worst form of political [so-called 2007 post-election violence] violence which can be partly attributed to our collective failure to address the systemic socio-economic and political imbalances created in our body politic by years of colonial and post-colonial misrule. As we get ready to, nay, as we mark the first year of the political agreement dubbed "the Grand Coalition", a shaky outfit which was formed as a compromise to end the mayhem witnessed after the 2007 General Elections, the series will enable us to seriously probe the issues of democracy and governance and what we must do as a country if we are to move forward and attain our quest for a sustainable and inclusive nation.

Third and finally, as part of the efforts aimed at redressing Britain's atrocities on the Mau Mau movement, plans are at an advanced stage within the Kenya Human Rights Commission to file a case against HRM the Queen's Government in London early[i.e. February/March 2009 ] this year. The case will seek compensation for the victims of Britain's colonial atrocities committed in the period 1952 to 1960 when Britain declared a State of Emergency in Kenya and resorted to a heavy-handed approach in its response to the Mau Mau movement.


* The Mau Mau Movement: The focus will be on the origins of the movement and whether the movement was justified (especially within the context of international law) in rising up against British Colonialism. Consequently, Britain's response to the Mau Mau movement will be examined, both within the context of its domestic law as well as its international law obligations, as a way of establishing the basis for the Mau Mau suit against the British Government.
* The Politics of Land: Under this theme, the contentious issue of land acquisition and land ownership both within the colonial and the post-colonial eras will be discussed.
* The Politics of Impunity: The colonial origins of the politics of impunity and the continuation of the same in independent Kenya will be examined.
* The Quest for Good-Governance and a Human-Rights Driven Socio-Economic and Political Order in Kenya: The focus here will be on the crisis of governance in Kenya and the relentless push by Kenyans for a more democratic society driven by, among others, the ethos of human rights.

The series will also be supported by a series of articles in Pambazuka News.

An SMS CAMPAIGN in support of the campaign is running. Please send an SMS to 4445 with the words MASHUJAA or HEROES.