Fraudulent Human Rights Defenders Via Julius Okoth, Social Justice Activist 

FRAUDULENT HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDERS
Posted on August 21, 2017 by juliusokoth

Going by the recent brutal government crackdown, systematic and targeted killings, painful violations and abuses by the same security agencies that was meant to protect them, which was documented and verified by the Kenya National Commision on Human Rights (KNCHR) after sporadic peaceful protests in opposition strongholds after the declaration of Kenya’s presidential results, i have had some serious soul-searching and deep reflection on the matter of targeted police brutality.

I am really pained as a human right defender, and i have to honestly vent my anger to some of my fellow grass root human right defenders without fear of “hurting” someone’s feeling for their application of double standards in defending human rights. I have agonized about this matter, and i have to speak out even if it proves unpopular in some quarters, because ultimately it is the truth that shall set us free.
Defending human rights to some of my fellow human rights defenders only becomes paramount and important only when it advances or favors their selfish interest, or when members of their community are executed, murdered, maimed, eyes gorged out and dead bodies are dumped in desolate places and rivers (Kinale, Kikuyu, Suswa, Mt Kenya, Kiserian, Mai Mahiu, Sabaki, Ol Donyo Sabuk etc). That is when we are called upon to show solidarity, to raise our clinched fists of justice to combat extrajudicial killings by highlighting instances and cases of these crimes, but it ceases to be so when it affects others.

I seldom talk about my tribe! Although my name betrays me, but looking at the gestures and postings of my fellow human rights defenders in social media platforms i have come to a conclusion that they are more or less supporting the brutalization of a certain community just because they do not agree politically. These has made me to come to a conclusion, that some of my fellow grass-roots human right defenders are deceptive and are in this field not out of passion and consistency but out of convenience.

When a clip showing a plain-clothed policeman shooting a boy (Somali) in Eastleigh without following due process circulated, we moved on very swiftly in solidarity, came out and protested in solidarity that police brutality is unacceptable in a civilized society, despite some members of the society praising the police for executing the boys. Those of us who spoke out were vilified and demonized as busybodies being that those boys were thugs and deserve to die extra judicially.

When ‘Hessy’ was posting pictures of his extra-judicial victims (mostly Kikuyus) on Facebook, we came out and protested in solidarity to condemn the act despite being told that those boys were members of “Gaza” gang and deserve to die extra judicially. We held vigils against extra judicial killings in solidarity with those who lost their loved ones, sons, brothers, husbands and uncles.

Now when the police are blatantly killing and torturing peaceful and unarmed demonstrators (mostly Luos) including kids, storming, breaking and forcing their way into the quite homes in some perceived opposition strong holds, firing in teargas, battering choking babies and their parents with batons, while at the same time demanding cash or phones, there is no solidarity among grass-roots human rights defenders to protest and condemned the act.

I am appalled at how some of my fellow human right defenders are silent in this matter of targeted police brutality.  A human right defender who is silent on the ongoing atrocities, abuses and violations is an accomplice to the atrocities. “Elie” Wiesel, a human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize-winner once said that “silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”. Amazingly, some of my fellow human right defenders were silent, and those who spoke said “these ‘Jaruos’ and their old man have been asking for it, they are criminals and looters who deserve to be executed extra judicially”.
Reading at their stuffs on social media, I’m amazed at how they supported perpetrators on the matter of targeted police brutality on Luo. Why? I ask myself. Then it comes to my mind that Adolf Hitler was a particularly popular leader. Even when he commenced his extermination of Jews and Gypsies and other minorities, the majority of Germans bought into his ‘sub-humans’ categorization of those he sought to persecute. Some went even extra mile and did their bit in the genocide. What made them? They were defending and protecting one of their own.

Whether we are Somalis, Kikuyus or Luos we are all human beings, created in Gods own image. A God that is not only the God of peace, but also the God of justice, the God of our National Anthem. None of us is a child of a lesser God, and none is in Kenya by mistake. Despite our odious beliefs or political orientation, we are all Kenyans and there is no justification or mitigation whatsoever by whomever that could be used to snuff out the others life. It is a taboo for a human right defender to treat other section of the society as strangers not owners of the country when they are facing atrocities, abuses and violations.

First, a human rights defender (hrd) is defined by his or her work, attitudes and behavior. It is an individual alone or with others act to promote, advocate, lobbying and protecting human rights impartially, formally and none violently without discriminating the victim or victims in terms of gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, tribe, color, class, religion or religious dress code, marital status, age, health status, ethnicity, language, geographical location, culture and lifestyle among others. A human right defender stands for what is right and strives for the realization of human rights even when it is not affecting them directly, and expresses the universally and indivisibility of human rights.

Judging by their silent, failing to speak up in a clearer, consistent and compelling voices in amplifying, condemning and demanding an end to the recent atrocities committed against opposition supporters by the police, have reminded me of best remembered quote by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Because this targeted police brutality it did not happen to the communities of some of my fellow human right defenders, it did not matter to them, forgetting that tomorrow it shall be their turn. Life is a cycle Wheels do turn. Shoes do change. Nobody will speak when they will be clobbered to palp, and nobody will come to their rescue.
As human right defenders we should stand united against abuses and violation against any human being. Real change will come from us first as individuals and then as a collective. Personal values drive the collective action; and our destiny is in our own hands.   Wiesel, goes further and says “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest”. United we should stand for each other’s joy and rights. Divided we fall to the abyss of us versus them. What affects me should affect you and vice versa! Let no Kenyan voice be suppressed. A suppressed voice grows to become an angry threat. An angry threat grows to become chaos.

Going by the quote of a Human rights Lawyer from Colombia that A human rights defender has to love life. To help others, s/he cannot fall into the trap of skepticism or defeatism. We have to overcome our internal and external limits, and that is only possible if we take care of ourselves. We have to transmit optimism and transformative messages; we can’t be with the victims in order to sow further misery. In general, human rights defenders have an enormous capacity to enjoy each moment in Life.

*JULIUS OKOTH*
*SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST*

Justice for Raymond Akhura shot by Police at Mau Mau, Kangemi 

Attention KNCHR and IPOA 


Kindly refer to the above subject.

The Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya (CGHRD-Kenya)  in conjunction with the Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM) and the Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya brings to your attention the case of Mr Raymond Akhura, a resident of Village Inn at Kangemi Gichagi in Westlands Constituency. 

Mr. Akhura was on Saturday 12 August 2017 at around 11am walking to Kawangware when he was hit by stray bullet from police who were engaging people protesting against Presidential Elections Results around Mau Mau area.

 

Mr Akhura was rushed to Eagles Nursing Home at Kangemi where he was given First Aid and transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where he is currently at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

 

Mr. Akhura is a father of three children aged 13, 8 and 3 years and also has a young wife who are currently not able to fend for themselves as their only bread winner is currently at KNH.

 

The CGHRD-Kenya, BLM and CCI Kenya are writing to KNCHR and IPOA so that you can help Akhura and his family get justice. 

Sincerely

De-Registration of KHRC and AfriCOG Unconstitutional 

The Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya (CCI Kenya) in conjunction with the Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya (CGHRD-Kenya) and Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM) are condemning with strongest possible terms the purported De-Registration of Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and African Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) by the defunct NGO Coordination Board and is terming it Unconstitutional as the Board became moribund after the passing of the PBO Act. 

CCI – Kenya. CGHRD – Kenya and BLM believes that the move is aimed at silencing the CSOs from exposing the irregularities in the just concluded general elections and preventing them from moving to the supreme court to challenge the presidential results.

The groups are urging all Social Movements and CSOs especially the Civil Society Reference Group to offer solidarity to KHRC and AfriCOG at this time.

Security Forces Should Stop Using Excessive Force 

Hi Team 

The Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya (CCI Kenya) in conjunction with the Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya (CGHRD-K) and Bunge la Mwananchi are condemning with strongest possible terms the use of exessive force by Kenyan Security Forces in quelling Post Election Protests. 

We have received reports of use of exessive force in Kisumu, Mombasa, Homa Bay, Migori, Rongo, Awendo, Siaya, Usenge and Kibra, Kawangware, Mathare, Kangemi etc in Nairobi that has led to loss of lives and destruction of property hence we are reminding the police desist from using live bullets in dealing with unarmed protesters. 

We have also received reports of systematic criminalization of Grassroots HRDs in the said areas and in other areas where Grassroots HRDs are perceived to be in Opposite camps. Some of them have been warned by Security apparatus that is are being monitored so that they don’t organize protests or document Violations. 

We call on the International Community and other stakeholhers to intervene to stop the situation from deteriorating further and to stem further injuries and loss of lives. 

We remind the police that the article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees all Kenyans right to Peaceful Assembly, picketing and demonstration hence all the police need to do is to secure such processions as opposed to dispersing groups that are gathering as he been the case leading to violence. 

We also call on all those protesting the results to do so peacefully as espoused under article 37. 

Sincerely 

Cidi Otieno 

Convener CCI Kenya 

+254721609699 

Banning Bunge la Wazalendo Meetings Unconstitutional 

​T​he Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM) in conjunction with the Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya (CCI Kenya) is condemning with strongest possible terms the banning of Bunge la Wazalendo sessions around city hall​ and subsequent placing of police officers at the space to bar members from meetings and are calling on members to defy the ban and continue with their sessions.

BLM and CCI Kenya reminds the police that article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees all Kenyans right to Peaceful Assembly and therefore the police risk prosecution for defying the Constitution and protecting and defending the Constitution of Kenya pursuant to article 3 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

Furthermore, a fundamental freedom or right in the Bill of Rights as the Right of Assembly can only be limited by Law and only to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account the relation between the limitation and its purpose and whether there are less restrictive means to achieve the purpose​ and shall not limit the right or fundamental freedom so far as to derogate from its core or essential content​.  

​The Police are therefore not allowed to limit the right of members of Bunge la Wazalendo to meet as the space offers members of the public with an avenue to participate on matters of governance as is required by Law. 

If the police continue with the blockade then BLM and CCI Kenya will have no option but to mobilize Kenyans and other members to occupy the space in defiance of the Police order and to defend our right of assembly as per the article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. 

Gitonga Arrested for Leading Peaceful Protest against High Cost of Food 

 

 Activist Joseph Gitonga 

Comrades Joseph Gitonga and Victor Kadika were yesterday Friday 12 May 2017 arrested after leading a demonstration against the Rising cost of food prices in Nairobi. 

According to eye witnesses, comrades Gitonga and Kadika were accosted by over 30 armed Police officers at the Tom Mboya Monument in Nairobi who shot in the air severally Making people to scamper for Safety leaving several innocent wananchi injured. 

Comrades Gitonga and Kadika are currently being held at the Central Police Station where the police has charged them with illegal assembly,  incitement to violence and assault. 

Several Comrades are now at the Central police station to secure their release but the OCS is demanding a cash Bail of KES100,000 each to have them released. 

The Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya in conjunction with Bunge la Mwananchi is Condemning their arrest with the strongest possible terms and are asking for their immediate release because the Constitution at the article 37 Guarantee Freedom and right to Peaceful assembly, picketing and Protest and there is no way comrade Gitonga could assault over 30 armed Police officers. 

The groups are decrying the Impunity and blatant abuse of law by the police and is calling for the charging and prosecution of the said police officers. #FreeFitongaNow 

Supplementary Budget not Solution to High Cost of Living 

The Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya (CCI Kenya) in conjunction with the Kenyan Peasants League (KPL), the Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya (CGHRD Kenya) and Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM) are concerned about the rising cost of living and are faulting the government’s strategy to address the issue of cost of living as political. 


The CCI Kenya, the KPL, CGHRD Kenya and BLM are calling for a more sustainable approach to address the issue of rising cost of living and are asking the Jubilee government to stop politicizing the issue of rising cost of living. 

The groups note that the government’s strategy to focus on commercial agriculture as opposed peasant family farming is one of the causes of food shortages and rising costs as over 75% of food on the table is provided by the peasant and family farmers yet government policies have ignored them and have focused on commercial cash crop farming that is not driven by livelihoods but by profit. We are asking for increased investments on peasant family farming to enhance this potential of ensuring food sovereignty. 

The groups ask the government to Nationalize Land, Food, Seeds and Oil sectors so that food sector can be saved from corporate capture which is driven by profit as opposed to provision of livelihood with a view of promoting food sovereignty. 

The groups ask the government to enhance food storage by building silos and modern storage facilities especially in homes of peasant farmers and should lead in recovering all grabbed agriculturally productive lands in Kenya so as to increase the total acreage under food production.

The groups ask the government to invest on Range Lands so that they can target nomadic pastoralists food production systems especially livestock production systems as a source of food to ensure food sovereignty. 

The groups ask the government to address the large land acquisitions in the name of cash crop farming and mineral resource exploration that has driven communities from their ancestral lands and the government needs to ensure full implementation of the Community Lands Laws and enactment of Laws around evictions and resettlement of communities affected by forceful evictions. 

The groups ask the government to realize that 75% of labour in the agriculture sector is provided by peasant family farms majority of whom are women hence by investing more in peasant farming, the government will not only enhance food production but will also provide sustainable employment opportunities to the people.   

The groups ask government to invest in infrastructural development in rural areas including investing in schools, accessible and quality healthcare services, clean and adequate water, reliable electricity and roads so as to improve conditions in rural areas to spur rural peasant based sustainable and socially just economic systems. 

The groups ask the government to address disparities between the highest paid and the lowest paid workers and remove privileges and special protection to those sections of the society that are already highly remunerated.   

The groups ask the government ensure full and proposer implementation of article 11 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that obligates the government to preserve indigenous seeds and plant varieties including promotions of indigenous technologies and indigenous food production systems that are climate friendly. The government need to amend all laws that criminalizes exchange of indigenous seeds, plants and livestock varieties and should invest in enhancing banking of the indigenous seeds, plants and livestock varieties. 

The groups ask the government to ensure full and proper implementation of article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that guarantees all Kenyans right to food, shelter, water, education, healthcare and social security and should also adopt the Kenya first strategy especially regarding protection of local food production systems and Kenyan industries producing basic consumables like sugar. 

David Otieno