We want Koitalel arap Samoei’s head: Nandi County tells British gov’t

KOITALEL ARAP SAMOEI [PHOTO/COURTESY]

Nandi County legal officer George Tarus has demanded that the British government returns the head of Nandi political and spiritual leader Koitalel arap Samoei.

Koitalel, who led an eleven-year resistance movement against the building of the Uganda Railway through the Nandi area, was on October 19, 1905 shot dead by British Col. Richard Meinertzhagen.

Meinertzhagen had invited Koitalel to negotiate a truce – using that ruse to lure the Nandi leader for the fatal ambush.

The colonialists decapitated the body and took the head to London.

The Nandi leader’s symbolic grave was built at the Nandi Hills Town, where his headless body was found. The grave is designed with marble and it shows that his head is missing.

Mr Tarus observed that Nandi people went through a difficult time under the reign of British colonialists, and that the British government should apologise to the people, and compensate them.

Mr Tarus said, as a result of being colonised, Nandi residents lost huge tracts of fertile land to the British lords, which they are yet to recover.

Mr Tarus’ revelation comes after the British government in June, 2013 announced that she (British government) would pay about $30 million (Ksh.3 billion) in compensation to more than 5,000 Kenyans whose families were affected by Britain’s authoritarian rule.

Former British Government Foreign Secretary William Hague in June 6, 2013 remarkably admitted that imperial forces tortured Kenyans fighting against British rule in the 1950s.

About 12,000 Africans died in the pre-independence revolt.

“The British government recognizes that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” Mr. Hague told Parliament, reading from a prepared statement. “The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place and they marred Kenya’s progress toward independence.”

He said the compensation package totaled £19.9 million (Ksh.2.5 billion) to 5,228 claimants.

Mr. Hague’s announcement came after the British government settled out of court with lawyers representing the claimants following a landmark court ruling in October, 2012.

In that ruling three Kenyan torture victims won the right to sue the British authorities after legal battles starting in 2009.

The claimants accused British forces of beating, torturing, raping and even castrating people as they sought to put down a revolt begun by the Mau Mau, an anticolonial group that sought to end British domination.

Martyn Day, a lawyer for the Kenyan claimants, said he hoped that Mr. Hague’s statement would prove to be “the final resolution of this legal battle that has been going on for so many years.”

 

tagged in:


Categories: Uncategorized | Comments