Friday, October 16, 2020 – President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to hold a Cabinet meeting at the Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy at Manyani, on Friday, has generated a lot of anger among the Kikuyu community.

The Cabinet retreat will take three days and Uhuru is set to discuss with his team the implementation of his elusive Big Four agenda and how to fight terrorism in the country among other issues.

However, when you mention the word Manyani to members of the Kikuyu community, it reminds them of the dehumanization and torture of Mau Mau members by the colonial government.

Manyani was started as a holding camp for “hardcore” Mau Mau fighters. The over 10000-acre facility held Mau Mau fighters from 1952 to 1963.

The colonial government preferred the Manyani detention camp because of its harsh environment that was expected to exert maximum physical torture on the detainees so that they could plead guilty and assist in ending the Mau Mau uprising.

In a nutshell, Manyani detention camp was an institution of political domination and control during the state of emergency in Kenya. At some point, it held nearly 150,000 Mau Mau suspects.

British historian, David Anderson, estimates that over 6000 Mau Mau members were tortured to death at Manyani alone between 1952 and 1959.

Here are some comments from members of the Kikuyu community after Uhuru took his Cabinet to Manyani.

“How can Uhuru take us back to colonialization”?. What message does he send when he organizes a Cabinet retreat in Manyani,” Sammy Kihara

When I heard Manyani I had chills over my body. My grandfather was tortured to death in Manyani in 1957,” Kungu Mairuinya

“The President should not have taken a Cabinet meeting to Manyani, he should respect Mau Mau heroes who died there fighting for land and freedom, that is a graveyard and a detention camp,” Chege Wamiti.


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