Documents Lay Bare Torture, Gruesome Murders Moi’s Political Detainees Underwent

Former President Daniel Arap Moi [Photo/Courtesy]

Arrests, detention without trial, torture and mysterious deaths were for decades synonymous to late former President Daniel Arap Moi’s rule that lasted for 24 years.

While some victims, who are lucky to be alive, have forgiven the former Head of State, who ruled Kenya with iron and fist, some remain bitter of the injustices meted by Moi and his KANU men.

Veteran politician and political detainee Koigi Wamwere is a classic example of men, who have publicly declared that they won’t “miss” Moi, who passed on last week on Tuesday.

“I don’t want us to meet in the same place in heaven, ” Wamwere, who was detained and tortured for nine years, opened up recently.

While individuals like Wamwere can today boldly speak their mind, many victims of Moi’s tyranny cried to their graves.

Read: Sonko Blocked From Making Way Into Main Dais At Moi’s Kabarak Home

As the nation lays Moi to rest at his Kabarak home today, daughter to a member of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (CRPPK) has revealed the worst that Moi’s detainees went through and how they met their death.

CRPPK was formed in London on July 2, 1982, and was instrumental in sensitizing international opinion to human rights abuses in Kenya.

Kui Kihoro, daughter of the late Wanjiru Kihoro, shared her mother’s notes and correspondence published first published in 1988.

The documents detail arrest, detentions and harassment of University lecturers, students, writers, lawyers, journalists, civil servants and peasants who dared to challenge Moi’s regime.

According to the documents seen by Kahawa Tungu, most of the detainees were denied access to their family or lawyers. They were held much longer — up to 90 days — than the legally stipulated 24 hours before appearing in court or being held without trial.

Read Also: Tale Of Man Aged 76, Turned Away From Moi’s Kabarak Home After Cycling 223km For Burial Ignites Mixed Reactions

While pressure from the human rights activists pushed Moi to release a few detainees, many were not released and died in the cells as a result of police brutality.

In one of CRPPK, the group published a disturbing account of one of the detainee’s in the torture chambers.

The detainee gave an account of his 55th day in the cells. He recorded that he had been put in ankle-deep water without clothes and food round the clock in a 5th by 6th cell and left to wear out and die.

“One is in total isolation and sometimes as grinding noise is transmitted to dog the mind, ” the detainee wrote.

Read Also: Man Whisked Away After Attempt To Disrupt Gideon Moi’s Speech At Nyayo Stadium [Video]

In the cells, light was scarce and would go out at night “to let in ghosts and ogres”.

“I have sat on my bottom underwater until blisters and pains the same goes for 6 days and 7 nights with or without sleep. My feet have taken in too much water and are painful to walk on. It’s as if a person is driving red hot pins through at times. The whole experience is very painful. I can not believe the barbarity of it, ” he penned and vowed not to give up the struggle.

Hundreds of others suffered the same fate.

Some of the patriots who died in prison include then University of Nairobi Studen leader Titus Adungosi Oloo.

Adungosi, a third-year architecture student, was among individuals who were arrested after the 1982 attempted coup. He died in 1988 at Kamiti Prison where he had been condemned to 10 years in the cells, two months before his release.

Read Also: Residents Donate At Least 30 Bulls To Feed Mourners At Moi’s Funeral

The crackdown on student leaders and lecturers opposed to Moi’s oppressive regime led to arrest and jailing of student leader Wafula Buke on suspicion of spying for the Libyan government.

Buke earned his freedom after the introduction of multi-party politics.

ODM leader Raila Odinga, was in 1982 charged with treason and detained for nearly six years following the failed coup. He was detained again in 1989 and 1991.

Other Moi’ victims included writers Mugo Theuri, Njuguna Mutonya, and Jimmy Achira. Paul Amina and Otieno Mak’Onyango had been detained earlier after the failed 1982 coup for their dare-devil action.

Read Also: Scuffle As President Kagame’s Bodyguards Barred From Accessing Dais During Moi Memorial Service [Video]

Theuri was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to charges of taking part in an unlawful oath and failing to prevent a felony.

The late Environmentalist Wangari Maathai was also not spared by the Moi regime for opposing the government.

Firebrand Kenyan politician Kenneth Matiba was detained in July 1990 for agitating for Kenya’s return to multiparty politics.

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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