Kenya

Nakuru's Kanu House of terror to be auctioned

Nakuru's Kanu House of terror to be auctioned
  • The building rekindles probably some of the residents’ darkest moments.

  • It was the headquarters of goons who mercilessly beat opponents of Kenya’s independence party Kanu.

The two-storey Kanu House on Nakuru’s Mburu Gichua Road is a stark reminder of the independence party's dark memories.

A court allowed electricity distributor Kenya Power to sell the building in Nakuru Town to recover more than Sh200 million debt, those who know its history will not shed a tear.

Kanu House was the headquarters of goons who mercilessly beat opponents of Kenya’s independence party.

It was one of the most notorious torture chambers in Kenya under the Nyayo regime.

The building rekindles probably some of the residents’ darkest moments.

TORTURE

“Some of the worst torture was carried out in this building and anytime I pass near the building, it sends shivers in my body,” says Human rights activist David Kuria, a founder member of the Release Political Prisoners (RPP) pressure group.

The physical and psychological wounds suffered by many residents are still haunting the victims.

Koigi wa Wamwere, one of the foremost critics of the Kanu regime, says Kanu should have let go of ownership of the building much earlier.

“I will not shed a tear if the building is sold because of the way it was used in the past. Terror was being organised and meted out in this building on those who opposed Kanu said Mr Wamwere.

IRON FIST

During President Daniel arap Moi’s reign, it was a dreaded house as Kanu youth wingers arrested residents passing near the building and frog-marched them to the torture chambers for refusing to stop when the youth wingers were lowering the party flag.

In the building, some of the most vocal Kanu politicians in the region ruled the then Nakuru District with an iron fist.

The past chairpersons include the late Kariuki Chotara, and Mr Wilson Leitich who at one time ordered opposition supporters fingers’ chopped.

Mr Leitich was apparently unhappy by those flashing the two finger salute of the original Forum for the Restoration for the Democracy who were clamouring for multiparty system of government in Kenya in 1990s.

At one point, the building was the command post of past Kanu chairpersons who included Mr Kimani Ngunjiri, now Bahati MP and the controversial politician and former civic leader Geoffrey Makana Asanyo.

Mr John Muthee, who is a brother to Mr Ngunjiri, is the current Kanu chairperson. He has been fighting to save the building from the auctioneers hammer with little success.