Africa-Press – Kenya. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is synonymous with Nyayo House torture so much that it is easier to overlook other prominent Kenyans who suffered under the then President Daniel Moi regime.
In a 2014 interview with K24 TV, Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe recounted the 85-day torture he underwent at the Nyayo House Chambers.
“One of the things we will never forget is how they kept you in water. My feet were like the underside of a snake and until today, they still ooze water.
“After sitting in this water for weeks, they would make you sit on a special seat that had needles like a sewing machine and they would switch it on. I remember Kamangara, they would put his manhood on the machine. Many people became impotent and many of my colleagues were thrown off from the last floor of Nyayo House,” remarked Murathe.
His activism began during his days at the University of Nairobi where he was studying Economics and Political Science and was also a student leader.
He noted that students organised their first riot in 1979 shortly after he joined, complaining about the poor state of food.
“Kenya was a one-party state. The politicians on the outside started agitating for a multi-party system and one of the platforms they used was a political party.
“We had people like George Anyona and Mukaru Ng’ang’a who came up with the idea of forming a party. It used to be called Kenya Socialist Alliance,” he added.
A few days before they were to launch the party, the politicians were arrested throwing their plan in disarray. Around the same time, the 1982 coup was executed.
After the coup, security officers swung into action and rounded up the entire student leadership of the University of Nairobi and they were taken to Embakasi Police Station.
He was released but re-arrested in 1986 on accusations that he was part of the Mwakenya, an underground political activism cell. He was taken to Nairobi without being told what his crime was.
“Sometime in the night, they would take you into a lift which would then take you for eternity on the top where you would find heavily built men,” he added noting that he suspected people would be thrown off the roof to their death.
“They would beat you from day one and ask you to strip. They would beat you up until you become unconscious Then they would take you to the basement, an empty cell then they start splashing you with water from the 24th floor,” he added.
He remembered staying for 13 days in one of the cells without food.
After the torture, he was sentenced to 15 months which he served at Kamiti and Shimo la Tewa noting that “I was happy to go to prison rather than the torture chamber.”
He, however, noted that some of the people detained were toughened by the experience, he included.
After his release, he joined Mwakenya group and continued agitating for a multi-party democracy where he met Siaya Senator James Orengo.
He has previously confirmed that he forgave Moi for the torture experience.