The demonstrators were protesting against alleged government corruption when police used teargas and batons to disperse them.
GENEVA, Switzerland, November 10, 2016 -A group of UN human rights experts* has condemned a violent clampdown on a peaceful protest in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, while urging the authorities to investigate claims of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrest – both against demonstrators and journalists – and to hold all perpetrators accountable.
The demonstrators were protesting against alleged government corruption when police used teargas and batons to disperse them. A number of people are reported to have been injured or detained during the incident on 3 November.
“Interference with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is inexcusable at any time, but it is especially repugnant when demonstrators are calling for government accountability,” the experts said. “Protesters may sometimes raise uncomfortable truths, but holding people in power to account is a central function of peaceful assemblies in a democracy.”
The experts also expressed alarm at the timing of the crackdown, less than a year before Kenyans elect a new president in August 2017. They said creating an environment where opinions could be expressed peacefully was key to avoiding a repeat of the wave of violence which followed the disputed presidential poll in 2007.
“Beating protesters does not make their grudges go away. Rather, it intensifies them, because it sends the message that the government does not care,” they stressed. “This approach does not foster a culture of dialogue; it fosters a culture of violence, which is exactly the opposite of what Kenya needs right now.”
The UN independent experts also expressed grave concern over reports that police had attacked journalists covering the protest, in some cases damaging their equipment.
“International law protects the right of everyone – including journalists and human rights defenders– to observe, monitor and report on such events,” the experts said. “It also imposes a duty on States to protect the rights of monitors to do their jobs, even if the gatherings turn violent. Attacking journalists who perform this important public duty is simply unfathomable.”
The UN Special Rapporteurs called on the Kenyan authorities to respect the demonstrators’ fundamental rights at future protests, and noted that they would be watching developments closely.
(*) The experts: Mr Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
“When it comes to this issue of corruption that has been at the centre stage of Kenyan public debate, it has frustrated me as President. And I would say why: because the pressure is on me to do something about corruption” (…) “I then sit back and ask: show me an administration, since independence that has tackled corruption like I have done. I have removed everybody who has ever been named or touched upon on the issue of corruption” (…) “I have done my part, at great expense – political. I have told them to step aside, and they have done it; whether guilty or innocent, I suspend them for three months until investigations are concluded” (…) “By the way that pronouncement by itself is unconstitutional. I have no power to suspend them” (…) ”I wish there was a way guilty persons could be charged, but nothing! We set up a multi-agency so that we can coordinate our affairs, still no movement” (…) ““I have taken the actions that I can take within the Constitution. I have given all agencies resources to fight corruption, and I challenge any agency to come out and say that I haven’t given them the resources. I stand accused that the executive is not doing its work. What do you want me to do?” – Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House at the ‘Anti-Corruption & Accountability Summit’ on the 18th October.
Well, Honourable His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, your under fire for corruption scandals, something that has been rampant during your administration. There been all kind of corruption scandals all the way into the Judiciary and the Supreme Court, into businesses and even in Parliament. Senators, Governors, Members of Parliament, investors and all kind of people, even Cabinet Secretaries has been burning in your period as the Executive.
This isn’t just about the Kenya Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). This isn’t about that, though that is a tool used by the President for his legitimate fight, even as it been an unused tool since John Githongo we’re “fired” in 2005 by the Mwai Kibaki administration. Since then the EACC has just been a puppet for the Governments of Kenya.
So if the President Kenyatta can complain about the dockworkers and the administration in Mombasa for their corrupt behaviour as they trade the goods through the dock, before it gets loaded on land. There been as long as I remember been the first people the Kenyan Presidents hurried to accuse, but for some reason never sack civil servants running the Mombasa Docks, which for me sounds weird.
We are now in the midst of the unravelling National Youth Scandal (NYS) where billions of shillings went into forged companies of the ones running the NYS fund. That is blowing up and making the CS Sicily Kariuki looking silly, while the main architect hopes to go scotch free like her fellow comrades Josephine Kabura.
This together with a mix-up at the Ministry of Health, that has been diverting funds as well, CS Cleopa Maliu has tried to explain the situation, but the companies that been implicated has done what they can wash their hands clean of the dirty acts of the MOH. The Tax-payers 5 billion shillings just vanished into thin-air and made little progress of the sick. That Mobile Health Stations we’re actually rebranded containers and other projects from the Ministry we’re flawed has further damaged the reputations of the Ministry and their Economic Policies.
If this two wasn’t enough in the times of the Kenyatta Presidency the “Chickengate” and the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) has been sacked for their corrupt trades, where they used deliveries to add “chickens” on the recites so they could get extra commissioned for making sure By-Elections happen orderly, even using foreign producers of ballots to skim-off tax-payers monies. This within bound of the current leadership and their hard-work against corruption!
It’s not like Uhuru Kenyatta is earning fortunes on the system today with his giant corporation like Brookside Diaries, that got business with Sameer Agricultural And Livestock Limited in Uganda, also owns a huge stake at the Inyange Industries in Rwanda. He has a stake in the Banque Internationale Pour l’Afrique au Congo (BIAC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This together with the valuable Heritage Hotels in Kenya; other corporations are the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) that has subsidiaries outside of Kenya as well. In media he owns the Mediamax Group: which controls the K24, Kameme FM and People Daily.
When you owns these businesses and knows the practises well, than he doesn’t see it fit to rock-the-boat. Just keep business as usual as his corporations are growing in size nationally and internationally. This while the government practises are weaker and mediocre, the business aspect is rising. Why should he work against his own corporations, which wouldn’t be a good look as the owner?
Well, at the same time the government has added debt, but also had another questionable Corruption scandal – the Eurobond we’re by September 2016 there we’re actually 215 billion shillings that was unaccounted for. That has never really been explained, even if the International Monetary Fund that been discussing with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and CS Henry Rotich tried to explain it through an all of a sudden transaction to JP Morgan Chase Account in New York in January 2016, that 2 years after the release of the questionable transactions and sale of the Eurobonds.
So I have just these issues that I remember right now, concerning the Jubilee and Kenyatta Government of the present day. With these kind of activity doesn’t make feel like the EACC or any kind of Anti-Graft activity has ever occurred. There are so many more like the Athletics Organizations concerning the Nike Apparel and Agreement between them and NOCK for the Rio Summer Olympics of 2016. So the runners and such we’re not supported as they we’re supposed to do, as the Government and Selected Officials we’re selling the clothes instead of giving it to the Athletes. That is just another one of the corruption scandals in his term.
I do not get the feeling that President Kenyatta has done what he could, what he should, but what he would prefer, to keep it at this present time with business as usual. Not caring about the cases, not interfering, not creating laws or amend government bodies to get more power to intervene on the corrupt behaviour. The President has kept it day-to-day and not tried to stop it. Because it is his loyal troops who are eating of the tax-payers plate. They are bending the laws and accountability to secure funding of the made-up corporations that got tenders by the NYS scandal and so on.
President Kenyatta, if you cared; I am if you’re really serious why does the amount cases keep piling and why is so many people walking scotch free after stealing, thieving and embezzling away government funds? Why do this people walk the streets without any prosecutions or trials of their cases? Why? What does it take to make them guilty of blue-collar crimes?
The real chicken thief is in the nearest sell of Eldoret or Kisii. But if they we’re suits sophisticated stealing like the Anglo-Leasing deal with the Kenya Defence Force than the men and woman walk talking to Kidero or any other governor with a grin. This is the same happing in your time and under your permission Mr. President. Time to act upon that!! If you meant the words you uttered out of your mouth in the State House in October this year. Peace.
A Statement Issued by the Kenyan CSOs on November 1, 2016
Since independence, Kenyan public has been treated to a cocktail of abominable theft, plunder, squander and waste of public resources, while the institutions tasked with the mandate to probe and deal with the said scandals have repeatedly sanctified the same. Bailed as the most corrupt and unaccountable administration in Kenya’s political history so far, the Jubilee regime’s 4 years in power has been characterized by rampant, reckless and mindless looting and misappropriation of state coffers.
The situation in the country remains so grave and dire that the official Auditor General’s report for 2015 found that just 1% of Kenya government spending and a quarter of the entire 1.6 trillion shillings budget was properly accounted for. Current reports indicate that Kenya loses approximately 600Billion shillings out of its annual budget of 2 trillion (close to 30%) through wanton theft and waste. Imagine what this amount could do in supporting health care for the poor, provision of quality basic education, clean water or employment for our youth?
Specifically, the Kenyan CSOs note with concern the following systemic and vicious failures of the political establishments, both at the national and county levels: That as noted by John Githongo, a prominent anti-corruption crusader, “corruption in Kenya has deepened and widened since President Uhuru Kenyatta came to power in 2013”.
It’s in response to the president’s admission of helplessness, his inability to act, and the failure by the different state agencies to admit responsibility in the midst of wanton theft of state resources, that the Kenyan Civil Society is calling a national mass demonstration to demand for urgent and systematic actions against mega corruption in Kenya.
We have planned sustained political actions to ensure zero tolerance to and increased accountability for public theft in Kenya.