Nairobi Kenya, December 4, 2017/..International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) observes with grave concern that Kenya is undergoing a deeply disturbing situation in the exercise of civil and political rights environment. This disconcerting pushback against democracy, which began almost four years ago, has grown more pervasive and pernicious.
It is evidentially clear that President Uhuru Kenyatta regime is becoming bold in its authoritarianism tendencies and seems to be on comprehensive campaign of intimidation, violence and misuse of legal mechanisms with intent to weaken and neutralize political opposition and silence independent voices. This autocratic and draconian style of rule is striving to nip any form of assembly, political dissent and public protest in the bud. Governmental fear of citizens’ participation and protest is immense.
The space for actors who are critical of government policies, who call for democracy, rule of law and human rights, who take an active stand against corrupt secretive large-scale projects, and who protest against social injustice has dangerously been shrinking. These actors are increasingly the target of state and private powers (associated with state) for vilification campaigns, repression and criminalization. Majority Kenyans are increasingly being denied the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly, association and speech that are entrenched in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and Constitution of Kenya 2010.
Further, we note that Kenya is being confronted by atrocious abuse of police authority for political objectives by President Kenyatta’s regime. The arresting of the globally renowned economist Dr. David Ndii under hollow disguise of incitement allegations, and violating his Constitution rights specifically Articles 49 and 50 is affirming this grave abuse by police.
We are particularly concerned with the role of Directorate of Criminal Investigations which seems to be taking shape as modern day reminisce of the old era notorious Special Brach. We strongly condemn this draconian act of arresting and incarceration of Dr. Ndii. This is horrifying political repression by the Kenyatta regime with intention of creating pervasive climate of fear. It is travesty to Constitution rights and silencing dissent. It is unconscionable on the part of the President Kenyatta’s state to exacerbate bad situation by choking the lifeline of Kenyan people. We vehemently reject police state.
This political and human rights situation development in Kenya will further escalate an already highly polarized and divided country. State aggression leading to violence, deteriorating state of civil liberties, violation of fundamental rights and ever escalating loss of human life and dignity will only aggrieve situation and force people of Kenya to find alternative means to reassert their citizenship rights.
Journalists and civil society reporting and documenting the dire situation have been attacked, intimidated and threatened with violence by those supposedly responsible for protecting them. The wanton use of force by security services along with the lack of accountability has contributed immensely to the crisis prevailing in Kenya.
The criminalization of public dissent and institutionalization of repression in Kenya in the name of national security and counterterrorism must stop forthwith. It will be practically impossible to build a cohesive and tolerant democracy under such turbulent, unconstitutional and repressive environment.
Executive Director, ICPC.