KISII

Gusii freedom fighters demand compensation, return of Otenyo skull

Wycliffe Mongare
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Freedom fighters’ in Kisii are pressing for compensation over alleged atrocities committed against them during the colonial period.

Abagusii Otenyo Freedom Fighters on Tuesday claimed the community had been excluded from the Mau Mau war veterans case filed in a London court that saw the complainants compensated by the British government.

The group’s Executive Secretary James Namu said when the case was filed in 2009 by three law firms in London, the Abagusii community was left out allegedly on limitation grounds.

Namu said the firms claimed the community, which also demanded return of their hero Otenyo Nyamaterere’s skull from a museum in Britain, was claiming compensation for acts committed in 1905 to 1908 and not 1952.

The secretary stressed that fighters from the community deserved compensation because they also subjected to untold atrocities by the colonial government.

He accused the law firms of colluding with some interested parties to frustrate the group’s case launched in 2006 and urged the community’s leaders to help them pursue the matter.

The group's Organising Secretary Joseph Keraita said the group was committed to ensuring Otenyo's skull, who was executed by the colonialists for killing its administrator, a Mr Nortcote, is repatriated.

Keraita said another freedom fighter, Moraa Nyang’iti, was also beheaded and buried upside down by the colonial government.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has also called for the return of the skull. 

The community also petitioned renowned author Ngugi wa Thiong’o to assist them have the skull repatriated when he visited the area recently.

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