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Mukaru Ng’ang’a family awarded Sh15m for late politician’s unlawful detention

The High Court on Friday awarded the family of the late politician and University of Nairobi lecturer Mukaru Ng’ang’a Sh15 million for torture and unlawful detention.

In a judgement, Justice Chacha Mwita said although no amount of money can compensate what the late Ng’ang’a suffered during solitary confinement, the award should ensure that such atrocities are never repeated.

Mr Ng’ang’a died in 1997 in a Swedish hospital while on self-exile aged 52. His family, led by wife Lucy Wanjiku Mukaru, had sought Sh120 million for illegal detention, torture and being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

In her testimony, the widow told the court that Mr Ng’ang’a was denied food and water for days in addition to being forced to drink urine to survive.

He was also kept naked with his feet immersed in cold water.

The family blamed the death of their last born son Rodney Kamau in 2016 to post-traumatic stress syndrome because of witnessing his father’s frequent arrests and harassment by state agents.


Mr Ng’ang’a, a former history lecturer at the University of Nairobi, filed the first lawsuit in 1987 while still in detention but died before he could get an opportunity to tell his story in court.

After his death, his wife took over the case. Mrs Ng’ang’a said her husband was released in 1984 and that was when he revealed to the family how he was subjected to torture and other injustices while in detention.

She said the husband lost two teeth and could not walk without support. His eyesight was also affected.

He was arrested two years later and detained for 90 days. He would later the next three years in detention. Upon his release, he fled to Sweden with his family.

He unsuccessfully tried his hand in politics following the introduction of multi-party politics on 1992.

This was after he returned to Kenya and formed the Kenya National Democratic Alliance (Kenda) party which he used to contest the presidency in 1992.