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UK government dragged to court over colonial-era land grabs in Kenya

Wednesday August 24, 2022

UK government dragged to court over colonial-era land grabs in Kenya

A group in Kenya has dragged the UK government before the European Court of Human Rights, accusing the United Kingdom of colonial-era land grabs and other crimes, committed in what is now known as Kericho County.

The lawyer representing the group said the UK government has repeatedly avoided every opportunity to address the issue, hence the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, crimes committed by the UK in Kericho during colonial times ranged from land theft, torture and mistreatment of locals. As many as half a million Kenyans suffered gross human rights violations during British colonial rule, the United Nations has said.

The Kenyan group is now seeking a proper investigation, redress and compensation for the colonial-era land dispute.

"The UK Government has ducked and dived, and sadly avoided every possible avenue of redress. We have no choice but to proceed to court for our clients so that history can be righted," said the lawyer who goes by the name of Joel Kimutai Bosek.

Reuters reported that some Kenyans are still suffering the economic consequences of the alleged mistreatments by the UK during the colonial era.

Located in the highlands west of the Rift Valley, Kericho is a prime location for commercial farming. It is also one of the top locations for tea production in the world today.

"Today, some of the world's most prosperous tea companies, like Unilever, Williamson Tea, Finlay's and Lipton, occupy and farm these lands and continue to use them to generate considerable profits," the group said in a statement.

Their major concern is that they are not benefitting from the economic benefits of the lands, even though said lands originally belonged to their ancestors.

The companies that currently occupy the lands and profit from them have not yet commented on the lawsuit.


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