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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Kenya: Human Rights Statements

Kenya: Human Rights Statements
Date distributed (ymd): 000918
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains two recent statements from Kenya concerning human rights and democratization. One, issued September 13, is a joint statement on the current situation from a network of Kenyan civil society organizations. The second, issued August 29, 2000, is from the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, and focuses on the assassination last month of Father John Kaiser.

In more recent statements reported by news agencies, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and other groups have also called for a full investigation into the deaths of six prisoners earlier this month, allegedly beaten to death by guards after a failed attempt to escape.

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Kenya Civil Society Organization's Network (CSN)

Contact: Paddy O. Onyango
Senior Programme Officer
Education Centre for Women in Democracy (

Call to Solidarity and Resistance Against the Kenya Government's Manoeuvring And Social Engineering to Undermine Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights And the Rule of Law

September 13, 2000

The Kenyan Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which, over the years have championed the broadening of democratic space, the practice of good governance and the respect for human rights and the Rule of Law, are extremely concerned over recent events in the country. These events point to the existence of a systematic project by the Kenya government and its allies to unravel the democratic gains made since 1991. In these manoeuvres one sees posturing by the GOK (Government of Kenya) which is reminiscent and symptomatic of the monolithic and despotic single party State.

This social engineering by the GOK manifests itself in the deliberate acts by GOK agents which are designed to undermine sacrosanct fundamental human rights of Kenyan citizens.

In recent months there has been a tendency by agents of the Kenya (KANU) Government and its collaborating National Development Party (NDP) to place obstacles on the way of Kenyans who wish to enjoy their constitutionally protected freedoms and rights such as of assembly, expression, association, movement and the right to life and the right not to have bodily integrity interfered with except in accordance with the law.

The instances in which these blockades have been played out include the attempted and violent disruption of the NCEC regional Constituent Assemblies in Meru and Kisumu respectively, the violent scuttling of the Kamukunji public meeting on Saturday August 19, 2000 which was organized by the Ugenya Member of Parliament, Hon. James Orengo, forceful and illegal confinement of Members of Parliament within the precints of the National Assembly to stop them from reaching the venue of the Kamukunji meeting, attempts at disrupting a fundraising meeting in Bomet presided over by KANU MPs John Sambu, Kipruto arap Kirwa, Cyrus Jirongo and Kipkalya Kones; and threats to violently bar the Official Leader of Opposition Hon. Mwai Kibaki from conducting visits in Rift Valley. The drums of war are still being sounded with regards to other scheduled public meetings, including civic education fora, which the KANU/NDP establishment consider a threat to their political survival and power games. There are also decrees banning other Kenyans from visiting certain parts of the country.

With the recent brutal assassination of Father John Kaiser, it is now clear that the GOK and its agents have began deploying desperate means of silencing pro democracy and human rights individuals. We are further concerned that certain human rights organizations are being targeted for destabilization as manifested in the recent break in at the offices of Release Political Pressure Group (RPP) and the attempted police on the offices of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya Chapter). Our institutions of higher learning have not been spared the crackdown either. Academic freedom in our universities is being subverted through selective suspension and expulsion of student leaders.

These acts against democracy have been executed with impunity and in total disregard for the 1997 IPPG broad based consensual package which, among other things included an amendment to the supreme law of the land, the Kenya Constitution, to provide that 'The Republic of Kenya shall be a multi-party democratic state.' They are further in breach of a number of international human rights instruments to which Kenya is a signatory or has acceded to. These trends have the following implications:

  1. That the resumption of aid by the twin Bretton Woods Institutions of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monitary Fund (IMF) have acted as an incentive for the Kenya (KANU) Government to derogate from its commitment to good governance and respect for fundamental human rights and plural democracy;
  2. That the Kenya (KANU) Government and President Moi in particular has never been sincere in its promises and commitments under the IPPG reform package;
  3. That the Kenya (KANU) Government and its ally NDP have no interest in a comprehensive popular based constitutional reform which would lead to the deregulation of the State and entrenching enjoyment of fundamental rights by Kenyan citizens;
  4. That the Kenya (KANU) Government has lost the moral and political will to guarantee protection and security for all Kenyans, and that this sacred duty and mandate has been abdicated to informal and or surrogate repressive anti-people agents such as KANU/NDP youths, Jeshi la Mzee, KANU People Power Action Movement (KAPPAM), 'Kalenjin Warriors', 'Bandits','Cattle Rustlers', bank robbers and carjackers.
  5. That in view of the foregoing, and particularly given that the Rule of Law no longer obtains, Kenya is steadily drifting towards a complete collapse of its social, economic and politic fabric.

This is therefore to request you to send protest notes and letters to the following offices and institutions with copies to us:

H.E. President Daniel Arap Moi
President of the Republic of Kenya
Office of the President
P.O. Box 30510
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 2 213957

Dr. Richard Leakey
Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet
And Head of Public Service
Office of the President
P.O. Box 30510
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 2 213957

Amos Wako
Attorney-General of the Republic of Kenya
Attorney-Generals Chambers
State Law Office
P.O. Box 40112
Nairobi, Kenya

Mr. Philemon Abong'o
Commissioner of Police
Vigilance House
P.O. Box 30083
Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya's Diplomatic Missions Abroad

Kenya Human Rights Commission

Contact: Dr. Willy Mutunga
Executive Director

Nairobi, August 29, 2000

Memo to the International Human Rights Movement on the Murder of Father John Kaiser on the Night of August 24, 2000

Father John Kaiser, a Catholic priest and a citizen of the US, was brutally murdered on the night of August 24, 2000. Father Kaiser had lived and worked in Kenya for over 30 years. As a parish priest in the Rift Valley province of Kenya, he became a famous human rights defender. He condemned land grabbing, the murders of workers and peasants through politically motivated and executed violence shamelessly called "ethnic violence" in Kenya. He was involved in the protection of women's rights and stood up against the rape of women by powerful politicians. It is known that he helped furnish the evidence that the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya has relied on to institute a private prosecution against Honourable Julius Sunkuli, MP, Minister of State in the Office of the President. Last year the Law Society of Kenya honoured Father Kaiser by awarding him its Human Rights Award.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission has for the last eight years monitored, documented and publicized human violations in Kenya. The Commission has also exposed the risks that human rights defenders face and has given them protection where it can. The resistance to the violations of human rights still remains the fundamental obligation of the Kenya human rights movement. The role of the international human rights movement is to reinforce, if it can, the internal struggles of the Kenya human rights movement.

The recent struggle for democracy, the rule of law, the respect for human rights and the basic needs of all Kenyans has enjoyed relative success. There is always the danger that these gradual and positive developments can be clawed back by a state that is continually becoming infamous for its violations of human rights. Blatant violations of the law and the constitution, torture, murder, rape, insecurity, a collapsing economy, a cowed and dependent judiciary, corruption and compromised security apparatuses have all made the Moi-KANU regime insecure, frightened and dangerous. Father Kaiser's death is a reflection of a real danger that Kenya's stability is facing. So is the illegal and criminal siege of parliament by hired goons who kept several opposition members of parliament hostage for hours on August 19, 2000. Private armies are known to exist, and they work hand in glove with the police.

What the Kenya Human Rights Commission wants to bring to the attention of the international human rights movement are the chilling messages that the Moi-KANU regime continues to give to the Kenya human rights movement and its defenders:

  • Human rights defenders ultimately face death if they persist in their project;
  • The state does not guarantee the protection of the lives and property of human rights defenders;
  • The state encourages informal repression as a means of intimidating and denying citizens their rights;
  • The religious groups constitutional initiative called the Ufungamano Initiative and its People's Constitution Commission will never be given a chance to operate, and the state will encourage the subversion of the Initiative's constitutional and legal mandate;
  • The state guarantees only the rights of the supporters of the ruling party and the political parties that cooperate with the ruling party;
  • Opposition political parties will not be allowed to exercise their political and civil rights;
  • The ruling party and its allies in the opposition will solely determine the content of the new constitution and the management of the political succession; and
  • The international community is totally perfidious, hypocritical, unreliable, racist and cares only about its economic, social, cultural, political and military interests. The international community just pays lip service to issues of democracy, governance and human rights. The international community cannot, therefore, be relied upon to resist, even morally, the dictatorship of the regime.

It is important that the international human rights movement focuses seriously on the last message. The Kenya human rights movement is being told that as long as the Moi-KANU regime respects the rights of the international community, as represented by its interests rather than by its people, the movement should not expect any moral support from the international community. Fortunately, one hopes that the international human rights movement is not about to become a front for capitalist interests. The international human rights movement must demonstrate that human rights violations are all over the world and that the movement will resist all states in the world that violate human rights.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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