DARK SIDE OF HISTORY

We blindly celebrate black colonial civil servants who were torturers

With our cleansing of home guards, what is the difference between them and ourselves?

In Summary

• The man whom a Mau Mau detainee could not go to for life was eulogised as a saviour and long-standing patriot of Kenya.

• If African colonial officers have worked so hard and well to develop Kenya, why is their true history never told?

Mau Mau veteran Gitu wa Kahengeri.
Mau Mau veteran Gitu wa Kahengeri.
Image: FILE

In 1981 in Parliament when the budget was being read, the Hon Gitu Kahengeri who sat next to me said that even if a certain permanent secretary who had come to Parliament with the president was dishing out life, he would rather die than go to him. I asked him why.

He told me that when he was detained in Manyani detention camp with his father during Mau Mau war, that particular civil servant, also being a screening officer, would knock out many a detainee’s teeth and smash their jaws with buckler punches. He was a perfect torturer whom one could never forget or forgive.

When this Kenyan served the colonial government, he tortured his fellow Kenyans who rebelled against that government.

And like other Kenyans in government, this officer did not serve Kenya. He served colonialism and subjugated fellow Kenyans to untold cruelties.

DISHONEST  EULOGY

Why did the TJRC leave out of their scope of research and consideration the atrocities perpetrated by home guards against the Mau Mau when British courts were willing to accommodate them?

This week I watched one of these colonial officers eulogised by his family, children, government officers and other Kenyans who have worked for the government since colonialism.

As I listened, I was surprised that Kenyans chose only to remember the bright side of this officer and never the dark side. How I wished his unpleasant history could also be told to warn Kenyans against evil and rejecting collective good to bow to governments for self gain only.

As I listened, I was surprised that Kenyans chose only to remember the bright side of this officer and never the dark side. How I wished his unpleasant history could also be told to warn Kenyans against evil and rejecting collective good to bow to governments for self gain only.

Watching this ceremony like many others, I was shocked. The man whom a Mau Mau detainee could not go to for life was eulogised as a saviour and long-standing patriot of Kenya.

Why has not the cause of so much backwardness, poverty, corruption and negative ethnicity been explained with such illustrious sons and daughters?

If African colonial officers have worked so hard and well to develop Kenya, why is their true history never told? It is ­ ­a litany of persecuting, betraying, torturing and shaming Kenyans despite being loudly praised as paragons of success, outstanding character, courage, patriotism, loyalty, service and sacrifice for country.

But as the history of colonial officers is praised and their sins concealed in their funerals that are always state-captured, the Mau Maus great history of sacrifice, suffering, family ruin, robbery and destruction always threatens to burst open like a massive dam.

If black colonial officers have been so great, so hardworking, sacrificing and patriotic, why are so few so rich and so many so poor in Kenya? How come only those who have stood against freedom, justice and integrity talk about success against the failure of the majority?

If black colonial officers have been so great, so hardworking, sacrificing and patriotic, why are so few so rich and so many so poor in Kenya? How come only those who have stood against freedom, justice and integrity talk about success against the failure of the majority?

When I asked Mzee Charles Njonjo at a lunch he had invited me to, who between the opponents of change and we proponents of change, he believes  could have done better. He  replied his generation could not have done better, nor can an alternative leadership take Kenya to the Promised Land.

If the architects of one-party dictatorship could not do better when only they could change things, will their children whom they bequeath power walk the same path? And will they also support torture, corruption, greed and negative ethnicity like their parents?

With our cleansing of colonial civil servants aka home guards, what were the differences between home guards and ourselves?