26TH May 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The attention of the coalition has been drawn to the statement issued by the Kenya national commission on human rights titled ‘DO NOT CONFUSE KENYANS: ANARCHY IS NOT DEMOCRACY’ and signed by the Chairperson of the commission Ms. Kagwiria Mbogori.
The statement condemns the CORD coalition for staging ‘street protests and demonstrations’ which in the view of the KNCHR are not a prescribed procedure of engagement in the matter that CORD is protesting about. Interestingly the statement then proceeds to recognize and refer to the constitutional “right to assemble, to demonstrate, picket and present petitions to the public authorities” and adds that it’s a right that can only be exercises when peaceful and unarmed. That the engagement in violence while exercising this right negates it. The statement then ends by putting political actors on notice not to confuse Kenyans and proceeds to state that anarchy is not democracy.
We wish to state that the KNCHR has without doubt cast aside its constitutional mandate and resorted to political propaganda and falsehoods for reasons well known to them. It is instructive to note that the statement was unilaterally authored by the chairperson without the concurrence of the other commissioners.
In its greatest heist of ignorance and selective amnesia, KNCHR falsely asserts that CORD has failed to petition the National Assembly on the removal of IEBC commissioners. To the contrary, CORD did present a petition to parliament on 28/04/2014 which petition was arbitrarily and without logical consideration dismissed by the Justice and Legal affairs committee.
It is clear that this statement is intended to undermine the citizens right to demonstrate on issues concerning them and hopefully to silence those engaging in their democratic right to demonstrate. It is also clear that the KNCHR, without any evidence whatsoever has decided to attribute and blame the violence that peaceful demonstrators have encountered to the same demonstrators. It is indeed curious that KNCHR does not in any way refer to the widely condemned violence by the police that includes fatal injury and maiming of many innocent Kenyans.
Has the KNCHR, an independent constitutional commission funded by tax payers to defend and oversee the protection of human rights become one of the agents of violations of these rights in Kenya? Has the commission now decided to play partisan politics using public resources? We demand that the KNCHR accounts for its statement and the assumptions made therein.
Has commission done its investigations to determine that the violence that has been going on was planned and instigated by the CORD demonstrators?
Has commission investigated the role of the police in the violence relating to these demonstrations?
What has the commission done to hold the IEBC accountable to putting in place the framework to address all the anomalies associated with the 2013 elections including the tampering with registers, the facilitation of the right to vote and the tampering with the BVR equipment? Has the KNCHR even bothered to issue any statement on the human rights perspectives on these matters? Was KNCHR in this country when the Smith and Ouzman directors were convicted of the crime of offering bribes to the Kenyan electoral body officials including the chairman of the IEBC? Did the commission pronounce itself on the need for all those who were mentioned to step aside to facilitate investigations before they continue serving in office? Is that not a matter of good governance that is purportedly part of the commission’s mandate?
While busy issuing these obnoxious statements, KNCHR is clearly abdicating its constitutional mandate as set out under Art.59. KNCHR continues to maintain ignominious silence in the face of police brutality against innocent protesters choosing instead to engage in academic lectures on processes and rumor mongering that have absolutely nothing to do with their mandate.
The commission is clearly out of depth as far as its core mandate is concerned. The foundational principles of our constitution embody proper mechanisms that justify the use of demonstrations as an exercise of sovereignty. It is shocking that the very commission that is vested with the mandate to safeguard and facilitate the enjoyment of rights is busy erecting claw backs using flimsy political excuses nicely coated in empty legal jingoism.
Indeed, within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. We wish to remind KNCHR that the most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. One cannot fail to notice the inconsistency of those rejecting human rights (KNCHR): their rejection takes place in the public square created by human rights. It is difficult to reject human rights without using them.
KNCHR is beckoning us to see the world through a one-way mirror; however we remain aware of the fact that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution.
Lost rights are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers. As a coalition, we remain steadfast in our quest to eject IEBC from office through a peaceful exercise of our rights.
Chief Executive Officer