A Former Mau Mau Remembers

Broadcast on Wednesday 15th December 1999
© BBC WORLD SERVICE: REMEMBERING THE 20TH CENTURY


HARKMAN MUIRURI MUNIU
My name is Harkman Muiruri Muniu. I come from central Kenya. I am 69 years old. I fought against the British government from 1952 up until 1963, to achieve freedom in our country. We were known as the Mau Mau: the people who wanted independence.

One war I remember well was one that we fought in a place known as Dakayne, in Central Province. We fought face to face. We killed many foreign guards, but we also lost many of our own. That was one war which we fought in the day, and not at night, like we usually did.

The group I fought with would fight in the streets of some of the towns, where we would ambush the colonial forces. At times, we would be in the forest. When we came out, we raided the villages and sometimes the towns; wherever our enemies would be found. And there we would attack them.

It was an unsympathetic war. War is not a joke. We knew what our goals were, and we had to achieve them. We dd not want to see a white man alive. He either kills me or I kill him.

I remember one time I was arrested. I had a bullet in my pocket. I was arrested and taken to the central police station. I spoke to a security officer. He was an inspector. I begged him to help me, because I was going to be killed. Now, by good luck - or rather God's blessings - he helped me, and opened the cell at night. I fled,and went on my way. I can remember that incident, and I am thankful to him, if he is still alive. Because we have never met since then.

There were many things I was unable to do then: to get married, have children, study. My life was disrupted, because of that war.

I have two heroes. One is Field-Marshal Dedan Kimavi, and the other General Stanley Mbenge. I knew Dedan Kimavi as a hero and an experienced fighter, and a great military leader who enjoyed the confidence of his fighters. When I heard that Kimavi had been killed, following his arrest, I was greatly saddened. We cried a great deal when we realised that Kimavi would not live to witness freedom. The whole nation was sad.

We are saddened by the situation in Kenya today. The leaders have misused the freedom we fought for and shed blood for. Our country is ridden with many ills. And we urge our leaders to change, to understand the goals that we fought for. We did not sacrifice so much for tribalism and theft to be rife.

I am very happy that we achieved what we were aiming for. And I'm very happy that in our country today we have freedom. The current generation have found a free country and are not slaves like we used to be.