NASA PRESS RELEASE
29 March 2018
GROSS ABUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEROGATION OF THE RULE OF LAW IN KENYA
1. For the greater part of this week, Kenya has been at the centre of the international limelight for very wrong reasons. On Monday 26 March, Mr. Miguna Miguna, a Kenyan citizen by birth, returned to the country under the authority of a lawful Court Order. Upon his arrival, he was denied entry into his motherland, for cynical and mischievous reasons. The subsequent related happenings have been a legal and diplomatic fiasco that has opened up the country to local shame and international ridicule.
2. Earlier, the State impounded Mr. Miguna’s Kenyan passport in February this year, before forcefully transferring him from the country. At that time, the State brazenly claimed that Mr. Miguna was a foreigner. It went on to claim that he was unlawfully in the country. This mischief sought to circumvent a Court Order that required the State to produce in Court Mr. Miguna, whom the State was detaining unlawfully.
3. We are duly concerned about the appalling information that has come out of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where Mr. Miguna was placed under false arrest before being inhumanely evicted from his country and cast into the unknown, like a heap of garbage. Everywhere in Civilized Society, Governments are overly concerned about the whereabouts, safety and welfare of their citizens. It is painfully shameful and absurd that Kenya can callously bundle away one of its citizens to the unknown, as if it was offloading bad rubbish.
4. Besides, there have been disturbing unconfirmed, but plausible, reports of torture and introduction of potentially dangerous substances into Mr. Miguna’s body, as part of the effort to forcefully evict him from his homeland. The full truth on this must come out. Mr. Miguna was also reportedly detained in a toilet and was denied the most basic comforts that a human being needs, including the right to a clean bath, change of cloth, or even brushing of his teeth. The truth about this must also come out and the culprits punished.
5. The questions before us go beyond the plight of one individual. There are matters of contempt of court, as well as abuse of human rights. It is a fact, for example, that there are many Kenyan citizens who held foreign nationality before the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya (2010). How is the Kenyan State regularizing their dual citizenship? Every Kenyan who bears dual nationality has cause to be very afraid, following what the State has done to one of us. Citizenship by birth is a fundamental right that cannot be taken away by the whims of a few people. This does not stem from the goodwill of the government in power. Accordingly, we call upon the State to stop imagining that it has taken away Mr. Miguna’s Kenyan citizenship. It has no capacity to do this. We, accordingly, call upon the State to unconditionally return Mr. Miguna’s passport forthwith, and to grant him his lawful reentry into the country and to protect his right to participate freely in the activities of his country.
6. From another point of reckoning, we continue to be disturbed by the regularity and impunity with which State Officers defy Court Orders. The Law has been made equally for everybody. When State Officers defy Court Orders as we have seen in the drama around Mr. Miguna, the Law is itself in danger. Indeed, why should anybody want to respect the Law when those charged with its custody trivialize and defy it? We call upon the Judiciary to remain vigilant at all times, as the last firewall in safeguarding the Rule of Law. The Law must forcefully bite all who attempt to defy it. Nobody should be allowed to behave as if they are above the law.
7. We also condemn in the strongest language possible the bestial handling of journalists who were at JKIA to bring to Kenyans the horrendous happenings on Monday night. Citizens have a right to information, while journalists have the duty to bring out the information. Their right to do so has constitutional protection. The State must refrain from harassing journalists who are only going about their lawful duty. Once again, those who beat up journalists at JKIA on Monday must be brought to book.
8. Finally, fidelity to the Law is not an option. All Kenyans must jealously protect the Law and robustly demand that everyone respects it. Everything that we do as individuals and collectively as a people must bear the stamp of the Law. This concern underpins the urgency of an all-inclusive and structured national dialogue, to address issues that have continued to be a thorn in the flesh of the nation.
Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, EGH