Sowing Harvests Of Hunger In Africa
Politics Fuel Famine
By Michael Grunwald
Sunday, November 17, 2002; Page A01
-- There is a time to reap and a time to sow, and now is
the time to sow. The
first rains have fallen on the parched lowlands,
softening the soil for the
plow. But Saraphina Simelane has no seeds to
plant. Joseph Dlamini has seeds,
but no money to hire oxen. Julia Gwebu has
no seeds, no money, no oxen and no
time; she spends her days in her thatched
stone hut tending a daughter with
Halfway through the planting season for maize, the traditional
this landlocked kingdom in southern Africa, hardly anyone is
less sowing. Droughts ravaged Swaziland's last two harvests,
agencies are handing out seeds to 12,000 subsistence farmers. But
38,000 households have nothing to put in the ground, and while
organizations are feeding them for now, they can't reap what they
"It looks like we're in for another disaster," said Ben
of Swaziland's National Disaster Task Force. "It's
becoming almost endemic.
We're just hand-to-mouth, hand-to-mouth."
World Food Program estimates that about one-fourth of the kingdom's
million citizens are now at risk of starvation. And aid groups report
worsening situation in tiny Swaziland -- rated a middle-income country
the United Nations -- looks mild compared to looming catastrophes in
poorer nations such as Angola, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in
Africa, or Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa.
than 30 million Africans are threatened by famine, and the situation
getting worse. In Zambia and Malawi, 70 percent of households have no
In Zimbabwe, the figure is 94 percent. Prices are skyrocketing, oxen
thin to haul plows, and an El Niño could bring a third year of
The crisis has roots in bad weather, bad policies and bad
it's the AIDS epidemic -- which has slashed average life
expectancy to 45
years or less in every southern African country but one --
that has prompted
humanitarian agencies to call this a "new variant famine."
cares for five orphaned grandchildren. Dlamini, 21, is
responsible for four
orphaned siblings. Breadwinners are dying or growing too
sick to work or are
selling off farm supplies to pay for health care at a
time when bread is in
short supply. In the lingo of foreign aid, millions of
victims already have "diminished coping
"The numbers are staggering," said Judith Lewis, the U.N.
southern Africa, a region where AIDS has flourished amid
substandard health care and a culture that traditionally frowns more
discussion of sex than the practice of it. "When we look at
vulnerability -- the world's highest malnutrition rates, the world's
HIV rates -- we're bracing for the worst."
are not yet starving to death, thanks to emergency aid
that began arriving in
July. The nation is not reeling from decades of war,
like Angola, or
expelling many of its productive farmers, like Zimbabwe, or
accept thousands of tons of genetically modified food, like
Zambia. It will
receive a scant fraction of the $500 million the United
Nations hopes to
spend in southern Africa through March.
But Swaziland provides a window
into Africa's unfolding food crisis. It is
smaller than New Jersey, and
hunger is limited to the rural south and east
of the country. It is a
functioning country, with well-paved roads,
well-regarded schools and
developed urban areas. It is Africa's only
absolute monarchy, but it is a
relatively transparent society. World Bank
data show that since declaring
independence in 1968, Swaziland has been less
reliant on foreign aid than any
other country in Africa.
Nsibandze says that Swaziland is now in danger
of becoming a perpetual
welfare state, "constantly appealing to our
international friends." The
country is producing less than one-third of its
own food, and more than
one-third of its adults are HIV-positive. The first
rains this year were
again a month late, and the second rains did little good
because there were
few seeds in the ground. Mostafa Imam, a Swazi who runs
the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization program here, swells with emotion
as he points out
the untilled fields and dusty pastures that dominate the
landscape of the
"I weep for my country," he said.
"When you can plow, you can hope. Right
now there is no hope."
Poor for Donated Seeds
Grace Mkhabela is in charge of distributing
U.N. maize and seeds at the
Sigwe police station, where hundreds of villagers
come for help.
She is a manager for a local nonprofit group, Swaziland
and she decides who is hungry enough to eat and who is
strong enough to
Simon Mamba, 61, lost his entire crop last
year. He has 20 mouths to feed,
and he had to take three grandchildren out of
school because he could not
afford the fees. Since Mamba has a low-paying
mining job, he is ineligible
for food aid.
"We have to focus on the
most vulnerable," Mkhabela explained. And seeds are
being distributed only to
food recipients because hungry people tend to eat
seeds instead of plant
"I'm too rich for food but too poor for seeds!" Mamba said. "It's
me to die."
Simelane is unemployed, and she is certainly
poor, crammed in a dingy home
with five orphans who sleep on her floor. The
two youngest, Pati and
Pendulili, have bellies distended from malnutrition.
Their sweatpants have
more holes than cloth; their shoes are caked with mud
and ripped to shreds.
Although Simelane is eligible for food aid, she does
not get seeds. "We
cannot serve the old and weak," Mkhabela said. "We must
give seeds to strong
people who will plant them with success."
there is Irene Dlamini, no relation to Joseph. She is only 40 years old
just as poor. She has 11 children who live on two spoonfuls of porridge
day. None of them go to school anymore. Yet she does not get seeds
Mkhabela could not say why Dlamini was unlucky. There just aren't
seeds to go around.
"It's a very painful feeling," Dlamini
said. "My children think I neglect
Even those who receive seeds
are by no means assured of a crop. Joseph
Dlamini, the young man trying to
feed four orphans, has been unable to hire
oxen or a tractor to plow his
fields. And it may be too late for him to
plant maize, which should be a foot
high by now. Still, he is trying to
build a fence around his bone-dry fields
out of acacia branches, just in
case. "It's all I can do," he
Drought is particularly lethal to maize crops, but maize is central
culture, so aid agencies have struggled to persuade Swazis to
more drought-resistant crops. But the darkest shadow over
nutrition problems is the AIDS epidemic.
It is rarely
spoken by name; Gwebu, for example, said her daughter has "a
But it is hard not to notice that the vast majority of the
villagers at the
food lines in Sigwe are either children or seniors.
Health officials say
life expectancy in Swaziland has fallen by 25 years
since the AIDS epidemic
In the countryside, teenage Swazi girls are selling sex -- and
HIV -- for $5 an encounter, exactly what it costs to hire oxen for
a day of
"People just can't cope," Lewis said. "This isn't
The international community, led by the United States, has
rushed in enough
food to stave off famine in Swaziland this year, and by all
food is being directed to people in need. But donors have been
invest in longer-term solutions -- or even medium-term fixes
such as seed
kits, which cost $31 -- in part because Swaziland has failed to
investments itself. Politics is also at the heart of this
"It's probably more important than weather," a Western diplomat
that definitely more important."
Jet-Setting Through a
"It seems like we're losing our direction," Sibonelo
Mngomezulu said. "We
need to rechallenge our priorities. We have to think
about our people and
what they need. The king needs to be
Those are bold words in Swaziland, where political parties
are banned and
criticism of the popular king, Mswati III, can be tantamount
They are especially bold from Mngomezulu, who happens to be the
third of the
king's 10 wives. She is also one of his key advisers; many
others, the queen
said, are "selfish and corrupt," and she blames them for
notoriety he attracted earlier this month after aides tried to
judges into rejecting a lawsuit accusing him of abducting his 10th
It is no secret what the queen means by priorities. A $900,000
emergency aid has languished for months; a $500,000 proposal to
royal fleet of luxury cars was swiftly approved. The government
irrigation projects for maize -- only for sugar plantations controlled
the king. Rural farmers have no way to finance their own irrigation
because the king holds title to their land. And even though the
has stopped giving away seeds to farmers, an on-again, off-again
to buy the king a jet for $60 million -- twice the country's
budget -- appears to be on again.
"Obviously, it would make
better sense to spend money elsewhere," the queen
said in an interview in her
The king has not even declared a state of emergency, which would
released more foreign money to buy seeds in time for planting
He may consider it too much of an admission of failure, or he may
realize the seriousness of the situation. At a recent ceremony, the
ambassador, James McGee, showed the king photographs of hungry Swazis
the ambassador had taken. The king's response, according to a witness:
In January, Mswati will oversee Swaziland's most
sacred ceremony, the annual
Ncwala, and he will give his people permission to
eat the year's first
maize. "I just hope there is maize to eat," said Imam,
the U.N. agriculture
official. "We should not be a nation that depends on the
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
A People Reduced to Queues
November 17, 2002
Posted to the web November
WHEN a friend's brother
working in the UK bought him a car four months ago,
he rejoiced; his
transport woes were over.
My friend used to spend an average of four
hours a day queueing for
transport to and from work and his brother's gesture
had seemingly cushioned
his afflictions. But little did he know that owning a
car would turn into a
He now spends even more time in
queues: to purchase rationed fuel.
When his turn finally arrives after
queueing for five to seven hours, he
gets 15 litres, which is just enough to
keep him on the road for four days
if he drives strictly between home and
How times have changed in Zimbabwe.
The economy is in
recession and the fuel supply has deteriorated due to the
collapse of a deal
with Libya's Tamoil to supply 70% of the country's fuel.
failed to keep up with payments for the petrol, and Tamoil and
suppliers now require cash up-front before shipping any fuel
The government requires about 600-million (about
R6-billion) a year for fuel
imports, but its foreign exchange coffers are
empty because of the halting
of donor aid, ballooning inflation and a fixed
Motorists like my friend are now bearing the brunt of
years of economic
mismanagement. If the crisis continues, he will soon be
forced to park his
car and either rejoin transport queues or walk to work
like so many others.
Fuel queues are not my friend's only headache: he
also has to stand in line
to buy basic foods, like bread, milk, maizemeal,
sugar and salt, which we
take for granted in South Africa.
life mirrors that of other people in this country that once
promising glimpse of Africa's future but now balances precariously
edge of a cliff.
Life in Zimbabwe has become brutish as President Robert
policies begin to affect ordinary citizens.
transport system is crumbling as a result of the fuel shortages and a
stream of people can be seen walking and cycling by the roadside
hour. They have either become fed up with waiting for hours or
afford the exorbitant fares.
Food shortages are worsening, pushing
thousands of people to the brink of
mass starvation. Most families have to
make do with a single meal a day in
Government-imposed price caps on foodstuffs have exacerbated the
because most producers who were operating at a loss have now been
The country's land dispute has also
drastically reduced grain production.
Corn, once a major export, is in
short supply and construction projects,
abandoned by foreign investors, stand
frozen in place.
Even people with money are threatened with starvation
because there is
precious little to buy. They rely on purchasing groceries in
countries to escape the hunger stalking the land.
flourishing cities, the capital, Harare, and second city, Bulawayo,
emptiness. Most supermarket shelves are bare, but massive queues
at dawn. The people disperse only when the shops close for the
day. If they
were to quit queueing any earlier, a consignment might arrive
and they would
have missed the opportunity.
And because every basic commodity is
rationed, whole families are found in
one queue trying to maximise on
Restaurants stand deserted and the once-proud hotels
valiantly cater to
handfuls of people, despite the reduced rates.
bars and bottle stores are doing a roaring business, as people
existing outlets in a vain attempt to drown their sorrows. Beer is
abundance and remains one of the few commodities that can be bought
having to queue.
Young people fill the streets aimlessly.
Unemployment has long been
institutionalised and their talk centres on
leaving the country.
To them, the grass is greener anywhere other than in
Some of their friends and relatives have earned money outside
then returned within a short period of time to buy
The levels of desperation have created catchment areas for
hooliganism, intolerance, violence and crime. More and more people
16 and 18 are turning to drugs and are being arrested for crimes
from house break-ins to robbery.
Inflation, which is around
140%, is devastating the lives of ordinary
Zimbabweans - it has eroded their
incomes by three-quarters.
The scarcity of foreign exchange has imploded
the value of the Zimbabwe
dollar and the black market has spiralled out of
The US dollar trades at Z1 800, the British pound fetches Z2
600, the rand
sells at Z250 and the Botswanan pula gets Z280. The official
for the US dollar, pound, rand and pula are Z55, Z75, Z6 and
Government parastatals are flooding the parallel
market to raise money to
service their debts, forcing private companies into
panic buying and
creating a serious demand.
As a result, banks are
running out of local currency as black marketeers
withdraw massive amounts to
buy foreign exchange. This money changes hands
on the black market, leaving
banks in a crisis.
The central bank has subsequently placed daily
withdrawal restrictions of
Z500 000 (officially R83 000) to keep the
situation in check.
But in essence, Z500 000 is worth a mere R2 000, a
far cry for serious
It's time Zimbabwean
politicians put the country on a path of economic
recovery instead of
enacting laws to entrench themselves in power.
Farmers ousted by Mugabe scratch a living in
By Basildon Peta in Chisambo, Zambia
15 November 2002
was among the most productive white farmers in Zimbabwe and
of black workers before he was branded an "economic
saboteur" by supporters
of Robert Mugabe and thrown off his land.
Today, as with other
once-prosperous farmers who suffered the same fate, Mr
Rae has had to start
again from scratch in neighbouring Zambia, going cap in
hand to investors at
a time when he should have been preparing for
Mr Rae and
his colleagues were, not so long ago, among the wealthiest of
But, because of President Mugabe's violent confiscation of
their land, many
white farmers are now forced to make a living selling
hamburgers in Europe
while others have become shopkeepers, waiters and
waitresses in countries as
far afield as Australia and America.
Mr Rae is among those who accepted
offers of huge tracts of land in
neighbouring countries. Mr Mugabe has banned
them from taking their
equipment and has refused to compensate them for
equipment left behind as
required by law. He has also ignored calls from the
Zambian government to
allow the farmers to recover their goods. The British
steadfastly refused to help the farmers, arguing that to do so
to bankrolling Mr Mugabe's chaotic land reforms.
MacSporran, a former president of the white Commercial Farmers Union
said: "I am 53 years old now but I have to start from where I was 30
ago. Unfortunately, our wealth was in our land and we can't move it.
move the houses we had built for ourselves and our children, we
the dams we had built, the huge barns we had erected for our
crops ... It's
Mr Rae had built the largest privately owned dam on one of his two
Soon after President Mugabe announced the land would be
rampaging supporters classified Mr Rae as an "economic
resisting their drive to confiscate white farms for the black
He was one of the first farmers to be harassed when Mr Mugabe
supporters in the state-sponsored drive to occupy and seize
white farms in
February 2000. Mr Rae said: "The war veterans stormed my
property and called
me a 'f***ing white pig'. My labour was beaten and my
property was looted. I
couldn't do anything. I had to pay huge amounts of
money for permission to
harvest my own crop."
Mr MacSporran and
another white farmer, Vernon Nicoll, suffered the same
fate. Mr MacSporran
said: "It became impossible to farm. We were just not
able to work our land
due to the disturbances."
The challenges and difficulties of having to
start all over again persuaded
the three farmers to join forces to kickstart
a farming project when they
moved to Zambia, where they now lease arable
parts of a 22,000-hectare farm.
After a long, tortuous process of being
turned away by banks and financial
institutions, the three eventually found
one willing to lend them US$3m
(£1.9m) to build a dam and grow crops. Their
prospects now largely depend on
weather patterns this year in the drought-hit
country. They said it would
take at least seven years of hard work for their
farming project to develop
to the same level as the properties they abandoned
These farmers might be considered the lucky ones. Most of
the others who
moved to Zambia have been less fortunate.
Connelly, 58, lost everything. Many of his personal belongings
confiscated by Mr Mugabe's so-called war veterans. Mr Connelly moved
Zambia, where he was unable to start anything on his own. Despite
been a landowner in his own right, Mr Connelly now has a job as a
Dave Craft, a farmer, tried to rescue a black farm
manager who was under
attack from the war veterans on New England Farm in
central Zimbabwe. He was
charged by the partisan Zimbabwe Republic Police
with inciting public
violence and was eventually chased off his land and fled
to Zambia. He is
now a worker on the property leased by Mr MacSporran and his
More than 50 farmers have now settled in Zambia, to an
from the government, although farmers find it hard to
get loans because they
have no title to leased land. Many more are expected
to arrive in Zambia as
Mr Mugabe enforces his campaign to seize 95 per cent
of all white land,
leaving fewer than 100 white farmers out of an original
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 8:40 PM
Dear all, I was interviewed by SW Radio (independent radio station
broadcasting into Zimbabwe) at noon today and the interview was broadcast into
17.00hrs. This was as a result of my message to Vice President
We can only keep trying.
The sickening thing is that while 6
million are starving because of this despot and his cruel rule, the media are
more concerned in Royal butler shenanigans and fire-fighters wanting a 40%
increase and risking lives to get it.
Keep on trusting those of you in Zimbabwe.
'Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they
not in thy book?
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back:
this I know; for God is for me.
In God will I praise his word; in the Lord
will I praise his word.
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what
man can do unto me.'
Bless you all,
Sunday Times (SA)
Analysts play down SA's talks with
The resuscitation of binational
commission talks between South Africa and
Zimbabwe is not seen as an
endorsement of President Robert Mugabe's
commission, set up in March last year, has stalled in recent
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.
It resumed only when
South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
visited Harare last
month. Analysts say her call to Britain to compensate
white farmers for land
seized does not signal a shift in Pretoria's policy
Dlamini-Zuma appealed to Britain and the international
community to aid
Zimbabwe, regardless of its government's mistakes, after
talks with her
Zimbabwean counterpart, Stan Mudenge, in Pretoria last
Tom Lodge of Wits University's Department of Political Studies
Dlamini-Zuma was merely reiterating South Africa's position that
land redistribution programme is irreversible.
was saying Zimbabwe may have implemented its land reforms badly but
international community should now focus on how to revive the
sector and the economy under the current scenario," said Lodge.
said the government's failure to loudly spell out its position on
had fuelled perceptions that South Africa endorsed
The government had not explained clearly to the
international community the
economic costs to South Africa should Zimbabwe
collapse and this had sent
wrong signals of endorsement, he
Centre for Policy Studies analyst Dumisani Hlope said: "[The
leave South Africa to help restore normalcy and I believe South
continued participation in bilateral talks with Zimbabwe means
being made ."
From The Washington Post, 14
Bloodshed and misery taint Congo's
By Finbarr O’Reilly
Mbuji-Mayi, Congo (Reuters) - In a drab concrete room with
three chairs, a desk and a lamp, Dan the diamond dealer uses a magnifying glass
to examine the tiny reasons why his shop shelters behind iron bars. "Lately,
I've been sorting through about 10,000 stones and buying between $20,000 and
$30,000 per day," the Belgian diamond dealer says. His is one of hundreds of
single-room shops jammed shoulder to shoulder on the busy Inga street in
Mbuji-Mayi, the diamond capital of the war-scarred Democratic Republic of Congo.
The lure of Congo's plentiful natural resources, including gold, timber and the
mineral coltan, has helped drive a ruinous four-year conflict in central Africa
that has left an estimated 2 million people dead. International efforts have
focused on ending the trade in so-called "blood diamonds" exploited by
insurgents to fuel wars. And since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States
last year, concern has risen over links between African conflict diamonds and
money laundering by groups such as Al Qaeda, suspected of carrying out the plane
But a recent U.N. report concluded that plunder continued
unabated in Congo despite the withdrawal of many foreign soldiers who had been
helping rebels or government forces under agreements aimed at ending the war.
One of the war's fiercest battles was for Mbuji-Mayi, the treasure chest of the
cash-strapped Kinshasa government, which lost huge swathes of mineral-rich
eastern and northern Congo to rebels still controlling half of Africa's
third-largest nation. In 1999, the advance of Rwandan-backed rebels was halted
60 miles from town by troops from Zimbabwe, which was given mining concessions
by the government as payment for its help. Zimbabwean tanks still ring the muddy
city, where diamonds are sold openly on the street like bags of expensive candy.
Bright-painted diamond shops have names such as Big Boss, House of God, Eternal
Treasure and Saddam Hussein Diamonds.
Mbuji-Mayi produces mostly low, industrial-grade stones, but
gems also turn up - like the De Beers "Millennium Star," touted by the company
as the most beautiful diamond ever found. Diamonds are Congo's biggest source of
export earnings, officially worth $240 million in 2000 and $225 million in 2001,
according to government figures. But twice that amount is smuggled out illegally
through porous borders by corrupt officials, criminal networks and rebels,
according to a report earlier this year by Partnership Africa Canada, an
Ottawa-based group. "People are becoming poorer, while others - entrepreneurs,
thieves and killers - are becoming richer," it added. Despite the immense wealth
underfoot, less than half the 2 million residents of Mbuji-Mayi have access to
running water or electricity. Those who do are linked to the infrastructure of
the state mining company, MIBA. The human rights group Amnesty International
said last month that dozens of suspected illegal miners, including children,
were being shot dead every year in their attempt to find stones that could
change their miserable lives. "Every day, blood is being spilled in the diamond
fields of government-controlled Democratic Republic of Congo, and nobody in the
international community is taking any notice," Amnesty said.
All sides in Congo's war have been accused by the United
Nations of looting resources while the population suffers. After two years of
talks, diamond-trading nations this month adopted the United Nations-backed
Kimberley certification scheme to track gems from mines to stores and help stop
the sale of blood diamonds fueling wars like the one in Congo. But while it may
have an impact on rebel-held parts of the Congo – if rebels are not able to pass
off the gems as being mined in corrupt neighboring countries - it will not
affect the trade from government-held Mbuji-Mayi.
Britain sued for millions by Mau Mau terrorists
By Daniel Foggo and
The families of soldiers who fought the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya
reacted with fury last night to news that former terrorists are planning to sue
the British Government over their treatment after being taken captive.
British lawyers representing former Mau Mau fighters claim that they were
tortured by the colonial authorities and are therefore entitled to millions of
pounds in compensation. They plan to launch a High Court action to demand
The move has prompted anger among those who remember the viciousness of the
Mau Mau campaign, which began in 1952 and lasted for more than four years.
Julian Hastings, whose father Martin was an Army colonel wounded fighting
the Mau Mau and was later awarded the campaign's only Distinguished Service
Order, said the claim was "completely idiotic".
"The Mau Mau caused such a great deal of trouble that for them to suggest
they were the victims is preposterous," said Mr Hastings. "The Mau Mau were a
small group who caused a lot of disruption, not only to the British but also to
their own people."
Mr Hastings's father, who died in 1999, was decorated for charging a Mau
Mau position and continuing to direct the battle despite being shot below the
heart. His son added: "I know if my father were still alive he would feel
exactly the same way and so does my godfather, who also fought the Mau
The Mau Mau veterans have employed a lawyer, Martyn Day, to fight their
claim in the British courts. Mr Day, the senior partner at the London-based firm
Leigh Day and Co, has previously won compensation for British prisoners of war
abused by the Germans and the Japanese during the Second World War.
He said that several thousand former Mau Mau fighters might have legal
claims against the British Government. He claimed that they had been tortured
while they were being held during the uprising.
Historians have documented atrocities on both sides in the Mau Mau
conflict, which developed into a civil war as the colonialists recruited local
people to help them fight insurgents from the Kikuyu tribe. Veterans of the
struggle are demanding compensation not only for injuries suffered in captivity
but for the confiscation of land, livestock and property.
Mr Day told BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday: "There appear to be
hundreds if not thousands of people who were very severely injured through
torture during the course of the Mau Mau uprising and the regime operated to try
to put them down. For that group, one would be talking very heavy levels of
compensation - certainly into six-figure sums - so overall one could be talking
many millions of pounds."
The Mau Mau movement began as a rebellion against the exclusive use of
Kenyan lands by whites but later came to be identified, wrongly in the opinion
of some historians, as a nationalist movement purely intent on ending
colonialism. Members of the Kikuyu tribe carried out massacres of white
settlers, including women and children, and then against many of their own
people who refused to join them. In addition to the 37 white settlers murdered
by the Mau Mau, more than 11,000 Africans on both sides died.
British Army troops sent to quell the uprising were forced to fight a
counter-insurgency campaign, together with loyal African regiments, against the
Dr David Anderson, the Oxford historian, said: "There was a great deal of
atrocity in this war on both sides. More than 70,000 Kikuyu were detained
without trial for periods of two to six years in detention camps. Some 1,048 Mau
Mau convicts were hanged by the British. As the struggle went on, their
property, cattle, farmland and food was confiscated on the government's
authority by other Kikuyu.
"If the case goes to court, I see the British Government having to pay
The veterans' claims for compensation have been gathering support in Kenya
for several years. In 1999, former fighters were in the headlines when they
tried to hand a petition into the British High Commission in Nairobi, the Kenyan
capital, demanding money.
Terence Gavaghan, who was the British authorities' officer in charge of
rehabilitating 20,000 African prisoners between 1957 and 1958, said: "It is a
pity that most people who try to remake history tend to approach it from a
"I was employed to make sure that unnecessary violence and intimidation did
not take place and the only compelling violence that did happen was in the way
of a policeman having to take someone in an armlock when they refuse to
"To make the tribes talk with each other, some of them had to be compelled
to do so. If they had not been, there would never had been peace. This claim is
in terms of hundreds of millions of pounds and the people are old now and may
not be who they say they are, but there will be little way of checking.
"This is the name of the game now - everyone in this country now claims
Bridget Scurfield, whose great- grandmother was killed by the Mau Mau,
said: "I feel about this the same way most people would feel if the IRA started
suing the Government. The British did some things they should not have but the
Mau Mau killed many. It was nasty, and I'm not talking about the odd beating or
Brig John Randle, who fought the Mau Mau, said: "We took people prisoner
and certainly did not torture them: we then handed them over to the colonial
"The Mau Mau's atrocities are well documented. As well as killing whites
they murdered men, women and children from their own race too."