Professor David Anderson comments on Mau Mau uprising court case
Posted: 07 Aug 2012
David Anderson commented in the Today programme of BBC Radio 4 (16 July, 2012) on a claim by three elderly Kenyans that they were tortured by the British colonial authorities in the 1950s that is to be heard at the High Court in London this week. He also commented on the case in Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland (16 July 2012).
David said, “This really is a landmark case. Firstly, for the Kenyans themselves, it is seen as a major statement of principle.”
He also pointed out the repercussions on Kenya’s relationship with Britain, and the importance for Britain’s own relationship with its own past.
In the interview in Good Morning Scotland, David described the beatings the Kenyans had to endure in the camps.
David Anderson unearthed the 17,000 documents that are expediting the case in the Foreign Office’s archives. The documents were previously deemed lost.
‘Sir, Terence Gavaghan, as the key officer who implemented the "dilution technique" in the detention camps of Kenya, had very good reason in his subsequent writings to avoid a term that became associated with torture and abuse (“Mau Mau row letter”, Aug 1). As a close friend and neighbour of David Elstein's, Terence Gavaghan must have had the opportunity to explain this. He certainly explained it to me when I interviewed him twice in the early 1990s. Documents already available to public scrutiny at the National Archives in Kew use this term consistently, and describe Gavaghan's role in "dilution". And documents recently made available through the Hanslope Disclosure include correspondence from Gavaghan himself defending the actions of his staff in implementing "dilution".’
Professor David Anderson is University Lecturer in African Politics