West Pokot leaders threaten to sue British government over historical injustices

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West Pokot leaders
West Pokot leaders

Leaders from the Pokot Community have threatened to sue the British government for historical injustices perpetrated on the followers of Dini ya Roho ya Mafuta Pole Afrika region.

The leaders claim that the religion faced opposition from subsequent Kenyan government regimes after independence since it was believed to be an anti-government group and therefore were not registered as a religious organization.

They said the followers were massacred after the colonial government perceived the denomination to be a sect due to its clamor for independence.

At least 400 people were killed during the massacre at Kolowo in Baringo, along the border with the neighboring West Pokot County.

Many people were displaced and chased from their lands.

The leaders are demanding for Pokots to be recognized just like the Mau Mau have been recognized by the government.

The leaders called on the County assembly to make sure that locals who were mistreated and tortured by the colonial government are compensated.

The Kenyan Government in 2012 finally legalized through the help of Eugene Wamalwa the then Justice Minister  registered Dini Ya Roho Mafuta Pole ya Africa, a sect with strong roots in West Pokot County after pressure from local leaders who pushed for its legalization.

The church now has over 100,000 members in West Pokot, Baringo County and parts of Uganda where the church has spread.

The sect founder Lukas Pkiech was a strong political leader during the colonial time and was leading the Pokot community against the European colonization that led to the famous Pokot resistance of the 1950s.

This was an underground religious group since Pkiech used the opportunity to mobilize the Pokots to organize anti-government campaigns to fight the Europeans.

After independence the sect was declared proscribed societies, and the members operated underground.

The African sect is now a church founded in the 1950s by local Pokots who were against colonial rule by the Europeans.

Speaking on Sunday at Keringet area while commemorating the death of the founder of the church Lukas Pkiech who was killed on 24th April, 1952, area leaders led by Former West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin and  Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto   called on the government to address historical injustices that were perpetrated against locals in the area.

He called on the government to compensate Pokots who fought for independence saying the community has a great historical significance in the country and cannot be overlooked by the government.

Kachapin called on the area Governor to track and bring back Pokots who went in exile at Lomesh in Uganda when fighting for independence.

“Those who made sacrifices in Kenya to get independence are Pokots. Our people suffered and lost lives and property during that time,” he said.

Kachapin said that many were detained, others died while others who went in exile have not returned.

The former Sports Chief Administrative Secretary said that communities in the region were marginalized and faced injustices yet not one has bothered to address the issues.

He in particular mentions founder of Dini ya Roho Mafuta Pole Africa leader Lukas Pkiech was a strong political leader during the colonial time and was leading the Pokot community against the European colonization that led to the famous Pokot resistance of the 1950s.

“Lukas resisted but up to now we don’t know where he was buried,” he said.

He observed that the historical injustices aggravated hatred and animosity among communities that have had border disputes for a long time.

“We as Pokots have many land problems which need to be addressed,” he said.

He called on the government to compensate those who suffered during the atrocities done on them.

“Residents are still living in abject poverty because of the atrocities that were done on them,” he said.

Kachapin said many families in the region are still living in fear because of the historical injustices.

“We have people who are lame and unable to survive because they were severely injured,” he said.

Moroto said that they are in the process to file a case against the British government over historical injustice done against their members in the 1950s by the colonial government.

“The resistance by Pkiech led to his death and that more than 1000 Pokots in 1952 after they battled with the Colonialists at Kolowa,” said Moroto.

Moroto said they will file a case to ensure the church is compensated just like the Mau Mau has been recognized by the government.

“We want victims of the Kolowa massacre to be compensated,” he said.

According to Moroto the sect has a great historical significance of the Pokot community and cannot be overlooked by the government.

The function was also attended by West Pokot Deputy Governor Dr Nicholas Atudonyang and West Pokot women representative Lillian Tomitom.