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Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Police Brutality Social Justice Centres

Launch of The Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network Report

Saturday 20th of February marked the launch of the Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Report . The launch coincided with World Social Justice Day. Members of the Network convened at the Orbit Hall, Mathare. The Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network started in late 2017. It was formed for the purposes of documenting many cases of mainly extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, police brutality, and other inhumanities by the police.

The day was marked by talks and discussions by members of MSJC and community members. People joined in solidarity to grieve over those they have lost to police brutality and charted ways forward for accountability and justice. The report can be read and downloaded here.

 

 

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EJE Campaign Police Brutality Social Justice Centres Working Group Solidarity

Mathare Social Justice Centre strongly condemns the “visit” of known killer cop Rashid and two police officers to our centre on June 30, 2020

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

On Tuesday, June 30 at 11 am, Rashid, the known killer policeman from Pangani police station came to Mathare Social Justice Centre with two of his colleagues; Rashid and one of the other policemen were in civilian clothing and the other police officer was in a full blue suit.

After introducing themselves, they said they had come to “lodge a complaint” against a person called “Ali” who had supposedly been discrediting Rashid on social media. Because of this they demanded to see the leadership of the organization. Jennifer, our administrative officer, and Lucy Wambui, an MSJC human rights monitor, were in the office, and said they did not know Ali. It is important to note that Lucy Wambui’s husband, Christopher “Maich” Maina, was killed by Rashid in 2017. A witness to Maich’s killing was also killed by Rashid in 2018.

After saying they did not know Ali, thereafter Rashid said that he knows that many people come to MSJC to complain about him, and he wants to speak with our leadership to share “his side of the story.” Him and his colleagues also asked for tea, and Rashid emphasized more than three times that he wanted to be served by Lucy Wambui.

As a police officer, Rashid is certainly aware of the legal avenues to lodge a complaint, therefore we consider his request an excuse to enter our space and intimidate us. Above all, since MSJC has been documenting the killings of youth by the police in Mathare since 2015, a large number of these killings which have been done by Rashid himself, we can only interpret his visit to the MSJC office to “lodge a complaint” as a threat to our members.

What’s more, as the Social Justice Centres work on planning the Saba Saba March For Our Lives against police killings, enforced disappearances and all forms of state violence, his visit at this time also counts as intimidation as we build towards this important March.

We demand that the National Police Service ((NPS) and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) take this threat on MSJC seriously. We also urge other relevant grassroots and civil society actors to stand in solidarity with MSJC at this time.

We continue strongly in our commitment to demand justice and dignity for all victims of police violence.

In solidarity,

Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC)

 

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Social Justice Centres Working Group

“War against the poor and youth”: Video of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard Solidarity Visit to Mathare

In February 2020, Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitration executions, came to Mathare to take part in a community-led conference that focused on the rampant extrajudicial killings of the poor in Nairobi. We greatly appreciated her solidarity visit, and we continue together to demand justice for our people.  In this video she talks about this visit, and the “war against the poor and youth” that Kenya and other states are waging. We thank Peace Brigades International for their work to bring Agnes Callamard to our community. See the video below.

https://youtu.be/3S3nAWaad5g

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Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Papo Reto/Kenya & Brazil Solidarity Solidarity Women in Social Justice Centres

“Killings Get Back, We are Moving Forward” : The Launch of the Network of Mothers of Victims and Survivors of Police Violence

This article was written about the Mother of Victims and Survivors Network launch, and was originally published on RioOnWatch, as part of “ongoing reporting on social struggles around the world that dialogue with the local reality in Rio de Janeiro and offer important points of international comparison. ” We agree with RioOnWatch that “analyzing parallels and showing solidarity for peer communities allows us all to establish connections, share knowledge, build networks of support, and establish a sense of common experience and purpose.”

On February 15, nearly two years after beginning their work, the Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network launched their initiative at the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya.

The network is composed of close to fifty members from across the city’s low-income settlements—from Kayole, Mathare, Dandora, Mukuru, Kibera and elsewhere—all of whom have come together to seek justice for the killing or brutal victimization of members of their family, usually young men, by the police.

Echoing the struggles of the mothers of political prisoners in Kenya in the early nineties and similar inspirational mobilizations of madres and mães in Argentina and Brazil, the network is primarily composed of women. These are the mothers and wives of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Since 2017, the members of the Network have been coming together to support each other through grief, to offer solidarity in the judicial system for the mothers who have been lucky enough to have their cases reach court, to document new victims, and to strategize collectively. Though throughout this time they have witnessed and continue to experience the imbalances and biases of the Kenyan legal system, the day’s launch was a celebration of the Network’s tedious, painful, and painstaking work: of what they have accomplished and what they will continue to do to ensure justice for their communities.

In 2017, the MSJC, a community-based organization in the urban settlement of Mathare, released a participatory action report on extrajudicial killings in Kenya between 2013-2016. The report, titled “Who is Next?: A Participatory Action Research Report Against the Normalization of Extrajudicial Executions in Mathare,” chronicled the killing of at least 50 young men in Mathare and 803 nationally in the three-year period. While illustrative of the sinister force of the police in the country, most citizens recognize that this documentation is only the beginning. The number represents a minority of those who have been killed in the recent past and filed away as “thugs” or “suspected terrorists.”

Some of the families of the young men killed and documented in this report and other ongoing MSJC documentation are represented in the Network.

Mama Victor, the current coordinator of the Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network, lost her two sons, Victor and Bernard, on the same day in 2017. They were killed, meters apart, by police officers who had invaded Mathare, ostensibly to quell protests provoked by the election results released a day earlier.

In Lucy Wambui’s case, another co-leader of the Network, her husband, Christopher Maina, was killed when she was eight months pregnant with their first child. He was dragged from a building site where he had been working and killed at 2pm on a public street. His killer, a notorious police officer named Rashid, executed one of the witnesses to Maina’s killing a year later. Having also been filmed killing two young men in Eastleigh two months after killing Maina, Rashid continues to work as a police officer. Unjustly vindicated in an irresponsibly biased BBC documentary, this breed of policing reflects that what the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard called, during her February 2020 visit to Mathare, typical of “serial killers in uniform.”

Another member of the network is Mama Stella, whose son was one of the eight young men killed by the police in April 2016 in Mukuru. Though the media reported that they were “suspected thugs,” two of them were only 16, and one was 17 years old. The group had plans to start a community garbage collection business.

One of the youngest members of the network is 19-year-old Mso from Mathare, who has had two partners killed by the police in the same year. She is now left to care for two young sons in the same settlement where her husbands were killed.

While their family members are killed at whim, these women are unable to seek justice from government organizations such as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). According to its own “End-Term Board Report 2012 -2018,” the IPOA has only managed three convictions out of the 9878 cases it received during that period—just as in Brazil, the vast majority of these cases remain under endless investigation. And yet, against the injustice of these conditions, the Network has continued to grow.

These women know that the killing of their family members is only one extreme outcome in a continuum of structural violence that features, among other things: lack of access to water, poor schools, inadequate health care, and the militarization of their homes. “Children being killed like kukus [chicken],” said one mother.

They also know that the government’s informally formalized “shoot to kill” policy is reserved for spaces like theirs. Wealthy areas of the city see no such policing.

For this reason, these mothers came together on February 15 wearing red shirts to represent the[ir] “blood that had been shed.” On the back of these shirts were only three words: “justice for victims.”

Together they sang and danced and marched determinedly, expressing how the[ir] “fire had been lit” [moto imewaka], while dedicating time to plant trees in memory of those they had lost.

As these trees grow and are taken care of in a community that is governed by environmental apartheid, they will stand as symbols of residents’ struggle for justice. They will exist in opposition to a status quo, planted in a moment of change co-catalyzed when these mothers got up and said: “killings get back, we are moving forward.”

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EJE Campaign Police Brutality Social Justice Centres

Thank you to all who donated to Yasin Moyo’s Family + Vigil today (April 2 @ 4pm)

Thank you all who responded to our call for counselors for and donations to Yasin Moyo’s family — the 13 year old who was shot and killed by the police during the COVID-19 motivated curfew on March 30. It has been so painful for the family, and we are grateful to you all from all walks of life who donated what they could. We managed to get counselors who will support the whole family, and we received 21, 492 in cash from people of all walks of life. Special thanks to Thomas Andrew (who donated 10,000 KES) and Matilda Stevens (who donated 4900 kes).

Yesterday, we were in solidarity with Kiamaiko Community Justice Centre (KCJC) who held a press conference together with Yasin’s Family. The two pictures below document, first, Yasin’s father, and then Mama Rahma (who is also of MSJC and was collecting the monies on our behalf) and Kimani from KCJC.

 

Today there will be a vigil for Yasin Moyo at 4 pm in Kiamaiko, and all are welcome to stand in solidarity with the family and remember Yasin. It will also be a moment to come together and demand for justice.

We hope you can make it, and sincerely grateful for those who have contributed whatever they could to his family, as well as the counselors who have volunteered to stand with and counsel the family at this time.

Justice for Yasin!

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network

Urgent Alert: Profiling of MSJC activist, Mso, by vigilante “Nairobi Crime Free” Facebook group

Activists have long been profiled by supposed “citizen” Facebook groups like “Hessy wa Dandora,” “Nairobi Crime Free” and others. These are vigilante groups tied to the police force that post photos of the activists and threaten them, warning them against doing the community work they are doing, which is interpreted as defending “thugs” and other such narratives.  We have reported these threats before, but they continue. And the Facebook groups continue to exist. Today they posted the photo of MSJC member Mso, whose first and second husband were both killed by the police. We ask for solidarity at this moment, and that comrades continue to report these groups that are putting activists at risk, and offer support to those who are being profiled. Nothing will stop our work for justice and dignity for our communities.

 

 

 

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Women in Social Justice Centres

Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Launch, February 15 2020

 

The Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network will be launched on February 15, 2020. This is a network composed, primarily, of mothers and wives of victims of extrajudicial killings. They have been doing a lot of work over the past two years: supporting each other through court cases, documenting new victims, and strategizing together. This launch is a celebration of the work they have been doing and will continue to do so to make sure they can get justice for the many families whose members have been killed by the police. Come and support them at Mathare Social Justice Centre, on February 15 2020, between 10 am – 1 pm. Your solidarity will be much appreciated.

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EJE Campaign Papo Reto/Kenya & Brazil Solidarity

“Nossos Mortos Tem Voz” (Keeping Our Loved Ones Alive) screening at MSJC on June 22 @ 2 pm

On June 22 @ 2pm MSJC will screen “Nossos Mortos Tem Voz” (Keeping Our Loved Ones Alive), a film based on the testimonies of mothers and families of victims of police killings in Rio. This film will allow us to create parallels between the police violence in Baixada Fluminense in Rio and Brazil as a whole, with what we live through in Kenya. It is part of the growing solidarity we are working to have with Brazilian activists and movements. Welcome All!

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Court Solidarity EJE Campaign

Court Solidarity Requested for Nura Malicha Case on Friday, June 7 2019

Nura Malicha was a 17-year-old killed on 21 February 2015 in Kiamaiko market by the police. He was working in the goat slaughterhouses that day, and, as reported, “was going about his usual business when he heard a lorry being driven into the market. Thinking it could be the normal lorry that comes to bring goats, he rushed to the front entrance to the market to meet it. The lorry belonged to the police who immediately arrested him. None of the witnesses heard what was discussed between Nura and the police; they just watched in shock as Nura went on his knees and was shot dead. Witnesses at the market say that Nura was unarmed and had surrendered but the police still shot him anyway.”

Nura’s case is one of the first cases MSJC documented and took to IPOA. The case was finally referred to court in 2018, and we were lucky to get a lawyer from Amnesty. It is now at the hearing stage and the next court date is Friday June 7 at Mlimani Courts at 9 am.

We are appealing for court solidarity in order to give support to this case and to the family of Nura Malicha. This is one step towards ending police impunity and getting dignity and justice for victims and their families.

 

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EJE Campaign Social Justice Centres Working Group

More Threats to Social Justice Centre Activists from Online Police Vigilante Groups

We did all we could to protect Kelvin Gitau, and we thought we had succeeded after we managed to get him released after he was detained and driven in a police probox boot for the whole night. Two months later Rashid, the most infamous killer police officer, made good on his promise to kill Kelvin Gitau. He was killed on April 16 in Mlango Kubwa. Four other youth were also killed that day. After we spoke about this, we are now getting threats on Facebook from online police groups. We have reported these pages to Facebook, but they continue. Will Hessy, Nairobi Crime Free and other online police vigilante group continue threatening activists for fighting against killer cops? We do not want to bury any more youth!

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