‘’Leaders or oppressors?’’ It is a question many ask themselves as they wound the injuries and trauma they underwent inside the Nyayo house chambers. Since Kenya gained its independence, the state has always tried to silence its people through torture for so many years. This is how the late president Daniel Arab Moi silenced all those who were against his governance. Some were innocent, but a law was a law, just by command; they were all transported by police vehicles to Nyayo house.
“At 6:30 in the evening, I was put in a land Rover blindfolded, made to lie on my back, where I was driven round and round for hours; finally, I ended up where they out me in a cell….” A victim recount his experience
Nyayo house is a tall building in Kenya situated in its capital city, Nairobi. It has 27 floors and houses several government departments such as immigration, and it also serves as the headquarters of Nairobi province. It has detention facilities in its basement, which are commonly known as Nyayo house torture chambers. The chambers were explicitly designed as torture rooms. It is where the opponents of the late president Moi were beaten and tortured. Some came out alive but with injuries and trauma, while others died inside those chambers.
Here are some of the experiences of victims who survived and came out alive. Today they still cry for justice, a cry that has landed on deaf ears.
The chambers were in total darkness, and even the victims could not tell the difference between day and night. They didn’t even know how the days passed. The cold in the rooms was so unbearable, and the victims say that it was so cold and that cold, dust or hot air was pumped inside the rooms. All these incidences seemed like they were arranged since the victims used to be taken to a certain room with a panel of around 9-10 officers and the victims sitting in a chair just before the conference. The most oppressive part of it is that the victims were naked in front of the panel. Many thought it was time for questioning, but it was a moment of torture to their shock. They were being bitten mercilessly all over their bodies until blood would ooze out. The officers went to the extent of telling the victims to lick their blood from the floor.
The torture was too much that they wished death upon themselves. All men tell a story of being squeezed with pliers in their testicles. They slept in rooms flooded with water. The same rooms were still their toilets. The victims used to be given little or no food and water. Some starved for more than ten days. If they felt thirsty, they were told to drink water that was on the floor. The only things they were fed with were brutal beating and humiliations. How can your fellow Kenyan and tribe mate beat and torture you like you are an animal? Others say they used to wake up next to corpses in the city mortuary. Can a human being with a soul let you sleep alive next to a dead body in the city mortuary? The officers didn’t care if you are a man or a woman; all were arrested against their will and taken to the Nyayo house for torture.
The victims will forever live this ordeal. Families whose members were victims will never be the same again. Some say all they want is a simple apology from the late president Moi, but others say an apology will never change what they went through. They may forgive, but they will never forget. They will live with scars from the beatings and torture, but the worst scars are in their mind and hearts.
They will always be in pain and bitterness till eternity.