UNENDING SUFFERING

Lamu Shifta war victims demand compensation from state

They were forced out of their villages in 1964

In Summary
  • The victims say they are the first internally displaced persons yet they are yet compensated compared to the more recent IDPs.
  • They also want the government to release the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report which details their transgressions.

 

Lamu's 1963–1967 Shifta uprising victims are collecting signatures to compel the government to compensate and resettle them.

They are targeting 5,000 signatures before they sue the government.

The victims say they are the first internally displaced persons yet the government has refused to compensate them yet the more recent IDPs have been compensated and resettled.

The government in 1964 closed Ishakani, Kiunga, Mwambore, Rubu, Simambaye, Mvundeni, Ashuwei, Matironi, Mkokoni, Vumbe, Saadani, Kiangwe, Ndhununi and Bodhei villages following their invasion by the insurgents.

The villagers were forced to migrate and find alternative settlements. Many were rendered IDPs.

On Thursday, Shifta war victims congregated at Lamu Fort Hall to launch the signature collection drive. They were at a loss why the government compensated and resettled the 2007 post-election violence IDPs and ignored them yet they had similar experiences.

The victims also want the government to make public the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report which detailed the evils and transgressions that befell them.

Their spokesperson, Mohamed Mbwana, said the government, by refusing to release the TJRC report, was hiding what happened during the Shifta war.

“Our women and daughters were raped and men were beaten – some to death and others maimed for life. We lost our land and our homes. The suffering will forever remain etched in our spirit.  Unfortunately, the government has never compensated us yet it did PEV victims. Is our pain not as hurtful?” Mbwana asked.

Kahale Suluhu, 85, said all they want is justice. "We have nothing to celebrate 56 years since independence," he said, adding that the TJRC report is their redemption and hope that the government will make it public and implement its recommendations.

Suluhu said they will go to court as a final resort.

“We don’t want to go into who was behind the war.  That won’t help. All we want is compensation just like all other IDPs. Once we are done with the signature collection, we move to court,” he said.

The victims also want the government to rebuild their villages for them to go back.