Ex-Service men petition the government

A total of 76 Ex 82 Air Force soldiers from various counties in Western Kenya have filed a petition demanding compensation from the government

The ex-Military officers from Bungoma, Busia, TransNzoia Kakamega and Vihiga counties jointly submitted the petition before Kisumu Industrial court claiming that they were unfairly dismissed after attempted 1982 coup.

The group made the disclosure while addressing the press in Kisumu today soon after filing the petition, claiming that there has been discrimination in the compensation programme instituted by the national government

The 76 Kenya Air force servicemen who served for 19 years have said they were wrongfully dismissed and discharged from service leading to loss of accrued benefits. The petition was read on their behalf by: Elimo Pascal Baraza, Job Kipkemboi Talam and Henry Wanyonyi.

Through Wamalwa, Biketi & Company Advocates the petitioners in a case filed before Industrial court Judge, Justice Morine Onyango said that they were conscripted, enlisted and commissioned officers with distinguished service until August 1, 1982 coup.

They have appealed to Attorney General on behalf of the Department of Defence (DoD) stating that between August 1 and 4, 1982 they were arrested on suspicion of having participated in the attempted coup on mere account of being officers of Kenya Air force.

The petition that was received in the High court on July 18, 2016 further claimed that in the process they were also made to walk on their knees on concrete floors, whipped and kicked with military boots.

In the amended petition addressed to the Deputy Registrar in the High Court of Kenya Constitutional & Human Rights Division in Kitale the petitioners claimed that while naked and in the full glare of the public they were ordered to board military trucks and rushed to custody.

We were detained incommunicado in various military barracks, police cells and prisons, they charged, adding the petitioners were continuously tortured and treated in inhuman and degrading fashion if not brutally.

They were also locked up naked, in overcrowded cells with mentally sick inmates who were shouting and screaming nonstop, and in an alternating manner or permanently being confined in tiny pitch dark or permanently in partially lit waterlogged cells.

We were beaten with buttons, gun butts, whips, kicks and slaps all over the bodies and deprived of sleep, rest, food and denied the use of toilet facilities, consequently being forced to drink the same water they had excreted and urinated in for days, they charged.

They subjected us to continuous interrogation while coercing and cajoling us to confess to having participated in the failed attempted coup and attendant crimes in violation of our fundamental rights to human dignity, protection of the law and freedom from torture.

Some of us were subsequently released without charge before a court of law after they entered a plea of not guilty and dismissed from service on the ground of redundancy without a hearing or payment of dues in total violation of their fundamental rights.

They aver that the commanding officer of the said 82 Air Force had no power or jurisdiction to discipline, dismiss, terminate, discharge or take any enforceable action against the officers and servicemen contracted for service by the Kenya Air Force as constituted by the Kenya Air Force Act Cap 199 of the Laws of Kenya now repealed.

We pray that a declaration that the brutal arrest, the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted on us upon being taken into custody, the cruelties, violence, brutalities, extreme and inhuman conditions constituted breaches of fundamental rights and freedoms, they argued.

They are demanding full retirement benefits, terminal benefits, a declaration that they suffered in the hands of illegal authority called 82 Air Force, which had no authority to retire or dismiss them from service as they were contracted by the Kenya Air Force which at no time dismissed them.

The petitioners further appealed to the court to award them full pension, terminal allowance among other entitlements. They also want interest at courts rate on all monetary awards computed from the time of the award by the court.

Source: Kenya News Agency