Kenya: A Welcome Memorial


The memorial unveiled in honour of the heroes of the Mau Mau war for independence is a good first step in the journey of reconciliation and self-discovery as a nation. Apart from Algeria, which witnessed a savage attempt by French troops to hold on to its colony, few movements for independence drew as bloody and determined an effort to crush resistance to colonialism as the Mau Mau war.

Historians now concede that up to 10,000 Kenyans lost their lives during the State of Emergency declared by the British between 1952 and 1960 as they sought to crush agitation for self-rule.

It is notable that the British Government moved to offer compensation and erect the memorial only under the terms of an embarrassing court case in London which highlighted the painful cost of the barbarous methods employed by the agents of the British empire including torture, mass incarceration, collective punishment of whole communities, displacement of those deemed disloyal and indiscriminate killings.

An apology and memorial cannot reverse the effects of these atrocities although it is a welcome first step.

Next, Kenyan societies must undertake an honest examination of the legacy of the independence movement and what followed after independence in 1963.

Source: Daily Nation