284 ex- servicemen sacked after 1982 coup awarded Sh500m

What you need to know:

  • Labour Court Judge Nduma Nderi awarded the 284 ex-servicemen salary arrears based on the current pay for servicemen and officers in the Armed Forces in their respective ranks.

  • Govt was directed to pay each of them Sh1 million as aggravated damages for wrongful imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and violation of the right to a fair hearing.
  • In addition, they will be paid their pension from the date of judgement which was issued on April 15, 2015 and that their ranks, honours and decorations be restored.

The pain and suffering of more than 280 former Kenya Air Force servicemen who were sacked after the August 1982 attempted coup has finally come to a fruitful end after a court awarded them an estimated Sh500 million for wrongful termination.

Labour Court Judge Nduma Nderi awarded the 284 ex-servicemen salary arrears based on the current pay for servicemen and officers in the Armed Forces in their respective ranks, from the date of discharge to due date of retirement.

In addition, the government was directed to pay each of them Sh1 million as aggravated damages for wrongful imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and violation of the right to a fair hearing.

“The pain and suffering was equally suffered by all claimants irrespective of their rank and station in life,” explained Mr Justice Nderi.

In addition, they will be paid their pension from the date of judgement which was issued on April 15, 2015 and that their ranks, honours and decorations be restored.

"82 AIR FORCE"

On August 1, 1982, there was an attempted coup d’état against the Government of President Daniel arap Moi by elements of the Kenya Air Force.

At the time, the 284 were servicemen or commissioned officers.

Once the mutiny was suppressed by the Kenya Army, the claimants were among those rounded up and subjected to severe punishment, including beatings, travelling for long distances on their knees, being confined in filthy cells without food and water and subjected to prolonged investigation by Army officers.

Some were also put in waterlogged cells for days, forced to confess to crimes they had not committed, summarily tried and discharged from the armed forces.

Though they had worked for Kenya Air Force between May 14, 1964 and March 30, 1983, between August 1, 1982 and March 30, 1983, the commanding officer of an authority known as the “82 Air Force” purported to terminate their services with loss of all their dues, terminal benefits, pension, gratuity and unpaid salaries.

In his judgement, Justice Nderi said the termination of the employment of the 284 ex-servicemen by the Commander of 82 Air Force was null and void since they were employees of the Kenya Air Force and not 82 Air Force.

The Kenya Air Force had been disbanded on August 12, 1982 and replaced by an entity known as 82 Air Force.

All servicemen and officers who were not taken up by the new entity had their employment with the armed forces terminated. 

The court established that all the claimants were not re-admitted to the new outfit and had their fates sealed without any proof of misconduct on their part.

“The claimants suffered in the hands of an illegal authority called 82 Air Force which had no authority to retire, dismiss or terminate their services as they had contracted their services with the Kenya Air Force authority and not any other illegal establishment,” said Justice Nderi.

The court also found that there was sufficient evidence that they were subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment while at Eastleigh and Nanyuki Air Bases and at Kamiti and Naivasha Maximum Prison.

The judge said he had also taken into account that almost all the 284 ex-servicemen were unable to get any gainful employment thereafter due to the stigma attached to being branded “rebels” and effort by the authorities to ensure that they remained in their homes and did not get alternative employment.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.