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Saba Saba 2022 Edition

For the 5th year in a row, the Social Justice Centres Working Group (SJCWG) organised the annual Saba Saba March For Our Lives, commemorating and building on the pro-democracy struggles of the early 1990s. Over 1500 people, mostly young and many women, marched from their communities demanding a NJAA Revolution (a ‘hunger’ revolution), lower food prices, an end to police brutality and justice for all.

Our collective petition to the president, highlighting the high cost of living, enduring police brutality and public debt levels, among other concerns, is available for download here:

Below a pictures from this powerful march.

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Organic Intellectuals Network Police Brutality Social Justice Centres Women in Social Justice Centres

The Unreformable Police Force

By Faith Kasina and Gathang’a Ndungu

The 21st century police have become the law enforcers, the jury and the executioners. To the rich, they are the protectors of their assets and wealth but to the poor, the police seem to be criminals in uniforms, sanctioned by the state against them. They seem to have been created by the elite class to police over the poor.

Global Movements & Protests Against Police Brutality

Police misconduct and abuse of power has been an ongoing debate for a long time due to the series of cases reported world wide, ranging from arbitrary arrests, harassments, torture, enforced disappearances (ED’s) and extra judicial executions (EJE’s), among other criminal activities. The police force has for long been used as a tool of repression to the masses rather than maintaining peace and order as it should be. These traits of police abuse of power have manifested themselves in both developed and developing countries. 

In some countries like the US, the issue is intricately intertwined with the issue of racism compounded together with the historical injustices from slavery, and subsequent repression. With the loose gun control regulations, the police find a leeway to use force on black populations in the pretext of drugs and illegal firearms mop-up.

The US has a long history of police repression on the poor black communities and the Hispanic migrants. The history of US has been tied to the slave trade during the Trans-Atlantic Trade. The southern states which were historically agricultural states depended fully on slave trade which came from the black people taken from Africa. This unequal society is what the Black people found themselves in. 

It was a system that was in all means set against them on political and socio-economic aspects. 

The police force took the states mantle to continue perpetuating racism against the oppressed poor black populations in the ghettos. It is against this backdrop that black movements such as the Black Panther Party and other civil rights movements rose against this systematic racism. Malcom X in his tour to Africa noted that the violence the people of Algeria went through in the hands of the French police was the same faced by the black people back in the US.

In 2020, we witnessed major protests around the world in solidarity for George Floyd who was killed in broad daylight by police officers in Minnesota. The protests which started in Minneapolis spread to other cities such as Berlin, London, Paris, Johannesburg, among others. The outrage was fuelled by the systematic target on black men in the US and the fact that the suspect was unarmed and had already been subdued by the two police officers filmed arresting him. From the footage taken, one of the police officers’ was kneeling on his neck in a chokehold position despite the plea by the suspect that he couldn’t breathe. This was not an isolated case but one among many that have been common in black dominated neighbourhoods in the US. 

Excessive use of police force was also witnessed during the Hong Kong Protests during the Anti-Extradition Amendment Bill of 2019-2020. During these protests, the Hong Kong Police was under harsh criticism due to the excessive force used and also the unjustified use of water cannons, both live and rubber bullets, tear gas among other weapons. Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region from 1979 controlling their economy while still under Mainland China through what has been touted as ‘one country, two systems.’  The extradition bill allowed for extradition to Mainland China. This was seen as a way of China controlling the Hong Kong’s Judicial arm. Pro-democracy protesters poured in the streets to demand for rejection of this bill. The subsequent crackdown on protesters sparked outrage leading to more protests against the bill and also police use of force, arbitrary arrests and brutality. The Chinese government also helped the Hong Kong police to do massive surveillance on the protesters. 

Similar demonstrations followed in Nigeria against the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad), which was a special unit created by the Nigerian Government to tame violent and organised crime. EndSARS Protests began as an online campaign against this notorious unit in 2017, which had a long history of police brutality, extortions and killings. In October 2020, the unit was linked to many other cases of extra judicial killings, use of force, abductions and arbitrary arrests. The young males in Nigeria had been the primary target of this unit just as in the US. They targeted young Nigerians by profiling them based on their fashion such as hairstyles and tattoo among others. Several cases of extortions by mounting illegal road blocks and searches had been documented without justice being served for the victims.

In other cases, women were tortured and raped. This led to demonstrations that birthed the EndSARS Movement which pushed for the disbanding of this unit. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians poured in the streets of different town and cities to demand for its disbandment. The young population made the bulk of the demonstrators as they had endured these injustices for long. Social media influencers, musicians and the diaspora Nigerian population gave their solidarity on online platforms forcing Buhari’s regime to offer a concession ground. The unit was disbanded although there was no formation of an inquiry body to look into the injustices, violations and the victims of SARS. After the unit was disbanded, the movement has continued to push for other socio-economic and political reforms in Nigeria such as good governance and accountability, by holding corrupt leaders accountable for their actions. The Nigeria government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, went ahead to freeze bank accounts of notable protesters to stall and cripple the movement.

Despite the many calls for reforms, defunding from other quarters and abolition from some, there have never been any meaningful changes to the police around the world as the systems that create them are the same throughout — helping to serve the same purpose regardless of the country. Historically, the creation of a police force is said to have been necessitated by the rising cases of violence and lawlessness in the society. This forced the rulers to come up with a unit to maintain peace, law and order. The first recorded evidence dates back to 3000 BCE in Egypt and its rise is credited with the need to protect the ruling families and their areas of jurisdictions. With time, the need to protect private property owned by the rich merchants became another pressing reason and, due to these factors, the police force has evolved as new needs emerged. However, the basic structures, training and modus operandi has been maintained with little or no change over the ages.

The Kenyan Context of a Police State: a Historical Perspective

In Kenya, the first formal police unit was created by the British Government in 1907 as the British Colonial Police Force. Before this, the only communities that had some kind of police units were the coastal communities under Omani Arabs and some sultans. From 1887 to 1902, policing was done by the Imperial British East Africa Company. This unit was created to protect the commercial interests of this company in the vast region covering Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and some parts of Tanzania. Kenya Railways introduced their police units in 1902 to protect their main infrastructural project; Kenya-Uganda Railway. The Askaris, as they were called, were stationed in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu to protect the business interests of this company and the white settlers in the country. They protected the workers building the railway from Mombasa, through Nairobi to Kisumu. They also protected the raw materials and other goods being transported from the hinterlands to the coastal town of Mombasa. 

The Making of a Police State

This police unit evolved along the years as the British government continued with their rule in the region. To effectively subdue the population, they used divide and rule tactics, whereby they recruited one community to serve under their units as homeguards and set them against other communities. This ensured that the communities were always fighting each other rather than fighting the colonial government. This police state is what Kenya inherited as a country. The successive regimes that followed maintained these units without reforming them. They used the police to protect their newly acquired wealth and also to repress any dissident voices that questioned their authority. Through them, several arrests were made, some enforced disappearances and deaths. Kenya’s first post-independence assassination was the killing of General Baimunge, who was a general in Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KFLA) and one of Dedan Kimathi’s confidants, who led the KFLA battalions on the East side of Mount Kenya forest covering Meru and Embu. His death was carried out by the police who were under the instructions of the first Kenyan Prime Minister, Jomo Kenyatta. This was the first betrayal committed by the first post-colonial government on its war heroes. Under Moi’s rule, they were empowered even more with the creation of special units for torture of political detainees, during his authoritarian rule that went for 24 years. Prisoners of conscious includeMaina Wa Kinyatti, Koigi Wamwere, Karimi Nduthu, GPO Oulu and Oscar Kamau King’ara, among many others.

Karimi Nduthu 

Karimi was a renowned activist during Moi’s regime. He was the Secretary General of the Release Political Prisoners (RPP) pressure group and also served as the Mwakenya National Coordinator. Karimi was initiated into radical politics by the December 12 Movement (DTM) literature which included Pambana, Cheche and later Mwakenya materials. Karimi was from Molo and he investigated the Molo massacre and ethnic clashes during the Moi regime. Moi was a ruthless dictator who never hesitated to silence any dissident voices that seemed to oppose his iron fist rule. He made organizing a challenge for political activists and university students. This forced many of them to organize in hiding while only a few dared him. Karimi was expelled from the University of Nairobi for his activism as a student leader in February 1985 before he could complete his degree in engineering. He was arrested in 1986 for being a member of Mwakenya and was jailed for 6yrs at the dreaded Naivasha Maximum Prison. He was later released in 1992 after the The Mothers of Political Prisoners Campaign piled pressure on the Moi regime to release the political prisoners. Immediately after his release from prison, he went straight to All Saints Cathedral where the mothers of political prisoners and members of Release Political Prisoners had camped. They continued to pile pressure by camping at the cathedral until all the prisoners were released. On the night of March 23 1996, Karimi was brutally murdered by the infamous Jeshi la Mzee murder squad at his Riruta home by a vicious youth militia run by the Moi government, and the then ruling party, KANU. Neighbours recounted how the police, who appeared immediately at the murder scene seemed to have been there to confirm the activist’s death. To make it look like a burglary and or a theft scene, they took his possessions including books and cassettes and manuscript. His murder is among many questionable murders and assassinations carried out by Moi’s regime through the help of his secret police squads.

The Assassination of GPO Oulu & Oscar Kamau King’ara

George Paul Oulu also known as Oulu GPO was a Kenyan human rights activist and a former vice chairman of the Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) and Oscar Kingara’s assistant. Oscar Kamau Kingara was a Kenyan lawyer and a human rights activist; the founder and director of Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic, a human rights organization based in Nairobi. On March 5 2009, the two were assassinated while sitting in a rush hour traffic in Nairobi. Their assassination is widely attributed to their work in documenting police killings. All the leads pointed to elements within the Kenyan security forces and police as responsible for the assassinations. 

The GPO Oulu, Karimi Nduthu and Oscar Kingara stories all show how extra judicial executions are deep rooted and systemic in Kenya. The denial of justice to the victims to date shows how the justice system has been rigged against a section of Kenyans. 

The police force has been maintained to this date to serve the ruling class and their interests in the country, without any regard for the poor majority in Kenya. The fundamental structures of the police force haven’t changed since the colonial era, despite the many calls for reforms in training, service delivery, maintenance of law and order, impartiality in carrying out their duties, professionalism and their attitude and relationship with the citizens they police. The Kenyan set up shows a force that has been trained to protect the elite in a country with glaring economic disparities between the ultra-rich, who have controlled the country since independence, and the malnourished poor populations who survive on meagre daily wages. To control these hungry and angry masses, the police force has been very active, and more so in the poor urban informal settlements and slums such as Mathare, Kibera, Kayole, Dandora, Kayole, Mukuru and Kariobangi. These areas that harbour majority of the poor in Nairobi are highly policed not to offer protection, but to pacify and repress them into submission. It is from these areas that many cases of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and extortions are reported weekly.

Police violations & abuses under the guide of special operations & crackdowns in Kenya.

Special operations and crackdowns in Kenya have provided ample justification for the use of force, coercion, mass arbitrary arrests with subsequent disregard of the rights of arrested persons, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. From the crackdown on multi-party democracy crusaders, Marxist-Leninist ideologues, Mungiki, the 2007/08 post-election violence, the Mombasa Republican Council, the anti-terrorism fight, crime in informal settlements to the Covid 19 lockdown, the state has always flexed its muscles on unarmed civilians and created fear in communities through the police force.

In 2006 and 2007, the state launched an operation to crackdown on the outlawed Mungiki Sect which had taken hold of Nairobi, Central and some parts of Rift Valley region. This group incorporated religious, cultural and political issues. They kept dreadlocks, just as the Mau Mau rebels did, to show their ties to the country’s freedom fighters. Their oath takings, which were rumoured to involve use of human blood, and subsequent killings that were linked to the group, invited the government to start a crackdown. Mathare and other slums in Nairobi, and other regions in Central Kenya, suffered a huge blow as hundreds of youths were killed by police and many others disappeared during the same time. According to a report released by a group of lawyers, more than 8040 young Kenyans were executed or tortured to death since 2002, during the five-year police crackdown on the outlawed Mungiki sect under President Mwai Kibaki’s reign.

During the 2007 – 2008 post-election violence, around 1,200 Kenyans lost their lives and the police were used to kill people from the zones termed as opposition. A majority of these killings happened in informal urban settlements in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu, with most of the deaths being as a result of police excesses. To date, the National Police Service (NPS) has never been held accountable for the atrocities committed to its own people. In Kenya, the police force has also been bashed for being impartial in their work, more so during election periods.

The Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) was an organization formed in 1990 by separatists who wanted the coastal part of Kenya to secede. In their efforts, they quoted historical pacts made at independence by Jomo Kenyatta, who was Kenya’s first Prime Minister, with the leadership of Zanzibar, which handed over the coastal strip to Kenya under a lease. They claimed that the lease period was over and it was time to form their own republic. The movement subsided over the years, only to be revitalized in 2008 with their vocal leaders pointing to the thorny issue of land in Kenya, marginalization and skewed development. Under the Pwani Si Kenya (Coast region is not part of Kenya) slogan, they rallied residents to join them with instances of oath taking in coastal forests being reported. The government responded by deploying contingents of police officers who used excessive force on citizens, including women and children. Most of the leaders were detained and some forced to denounce their stand. With the creation of a decentralized government in 2013, after the first election under the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, the movement waned as the creation of county governments gave the coastal people a sense of control of their issues through local governments.

When the Kenyan army entered Somalia supposedly to help the Somali Government fight Al-Shabaab, there were increased cases of terrorist activities in the country as a retaliatory response from the outfit. This led to a crackdown on citizens of Somali origin, and the Muslim populations at large in Kenya. Mombasa and Nairobi became hotbeds of police crackdown by the dreaded Anti-Terrorist Police Unit (ATPU), which rounded-up and arrested hundreds of suspects, some of whom were innocent, and held them in different stations for more than 24 hours without producing them in courts as required. Many Muslim male residents of Eastleigh and Majengo in Nairobi fled as searches were being carried out in mosques and homes. In Mombasa and other coastal areas, young Muslims and clerics were reported to have been killed during this operation, with some being abducted by plain cloth police officers, never to be seen. Some of these abductions and arrests have been carried out in front of families and friends.

The fight against crime in the informal settlements seems to be a war against the poor young Black males in the Kenyan ghettos. Their poverty has made them to be criminalized, along with their dreadlocks, which are used to profile them while labelling them criminals. This has led to the execution and disappearance of many in the hands of the police. Each informal settlement has a renowned killer police officer who seems to be backed by the state. Kayole, Mathare and Dandora all have these serial killers in police uniform, who have taken the role of judiciary to issue instant ‘justice’ to alleged law breakers. The realization that what the government was doing was cleansing young people in the informal settlements, led to the mushrooming of community based organizations to fight this injustice and bring to light and call out the massacre of the ghetto people by their own government. 

The Social Justice Movement & The Fight Against EJEs

The Social Justice Centres Working Group (SJCWG) is the decision making body of the Social Justice Centres Movement, which is the umbrella body that brings together all the social justice centres in Kenya. These social justice centres act as human rights defenders’ centres based in the communities. They are formed by the members of the community to find solutions to the pertinent challenges in the communities. SJCWG has over 60 centres spread across the country organizing on different political, socio-economic and cultural issues.

The social justice centres movement continues to organize around extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances. To document these cases, different partners came up with The Missing Voices website, and, so far, 1226 extrajudicial execution cases and 275 enforced disappearance cases have been documented since 2007. The Missing Voices website is supported by Amnesty International-Kenya, Peace Brigades International-Kenya, International Justice Mission, HAKI Africa, MUHURI, Defenders Coalition, ICTJ, International Commission of Jurists, Kituo Cha Sheria, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, CODE for AFRICA, Heinrich Bӧll Stiftung, ODIPODEEV, Protection International-Kenya and SJCWG. These partners help to document, provide legal aid to victims and their kin, offer referral, psycho-social support, among other services. This documentation helps to fill in the evidentiary gap by layering victims’ testimony with quantitative data. It also creates a platform where one can report, sign petitions and follow trials of such cases, as well as offer support. Its mission is to end enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions in Kenya, which have become rampant in recent times.

The SJCWG operates under committees, and the Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network (MVSN) is one of the pillar committees. The MVSN brings together mothers of victims and survivors of police brutality to provide a platform where they can share their experiences. This also act as a social circle to enable the survivors to start the healing process, as they offer each other a shoulder to lean on. They actively engage in documentation and follow up of EJE’s and ED’ cases in the community, and then offer referrals to the right organizations. They have also been involved in publicizing their work and creating awareness about the government’s role in the protection of the dignity of human life as enshrined in Article 26 of our constitution. 

Licensed to Kill: A Killer Cop Breed

The Kenya Police seems to have been licenced by the state to do a mass cleansing of ‘criminals’ in the slums. In Nairobi Eastlands, “innocent till proven guilty” exists only in papers as the police kill without any regard for the law. More than fifty years after independence, our police force still borrows heavily from the colonial police in its mode of operation. 

During our struggle for independence, the colonial police used the media as a propaganda tool to create fear and panic among the natives. Whenever a fighter was captured or killed, the images of their mutilated bodies would be published on the front pages of the local dailies to demoralize the fighters. One of the images that was highly circulated was that of Dedan Kimathi lying on a stretcher handcuffed. This was to bring the Mau Mau on its knees as they believed that he was the main leader of Mau Mau. Today, the social media has taken the role of the local dailies. The killer police use Facebook pages to spread their propaganda leading to self-exiling of youths due to fear. The police have become bold in their nefarious activities as they issue warnings to their targets on Facebook, with the photos of the target which they then go ahead to actualize without any fear of repercussion. Just like the colonial police, they post the badly mutilated bodies with warnings to other youths involved in crime. 

The police also seem to be taking new methods to avoid leaving a trace behind of their activities. Instead of the bullet, their victims are being strangled and their bodies dumped in places far away from their homes or where they were abducted. In an expose by a local media house, most of the bodies found dumped in River Yala had these signs and the victims had an involvement in crime pointing to a secret group cracking down on criminals. This special police unit is not created to follow the normal procedures of law but rather break the law at all cost.

Nearly each neighbourhood in Nairobi’s Eastlands has a known killer police officer who operates in the area. Despite the overwhelming evidence against these officers, the state seems unwilling to take action on them, and the only action taken is transfer and re-shuffling of the officers from one area to another.

The government has invested heavily on arming our police force, while still spending inadequate amounts on social security programs, job creation and provision of social services, which would help to drastically reduce the crime rate. The state has also neglected the well-being of its police officers as mental health issues and low wages demoralize the force from within, amongst other challenges such as poor working conditions. These problems compounded have in a way contributed to the many suicide cases in the force, the increased cases of homicides among police officers, misuse of fire arms and involvement in illegal activities such as robbery with violence and collaboration with criminal networks.

The threat the police pose to the public is immense, and Kenyans seem to be sitting on a time bomb ready to explode, when you imagine a fully armed police officer, underpaid by the government, working in poor and harsh conditions, traumatised by work, being oppressed by the seniors and with no psycho-social support systems in the force, and trying to survive the harsh economic conditions. These conditions create an environment for mental instability among the junior officers. 

The Role of Women in the Fight Against EJEs

Movements have always propped up to deal with human rights abuses by the state. Women have been part and parcel of organizing and confronting the ills in the community, as well as upsetting the status quo. Women in Kenya have participated in all aspects of the struggle, and they continue to do so to this day.

During the Moi regime when the government arrested young people and put them in prisons, mothers of those political prisoners and other women camped at Uhuru Park and piled pressure on the government to release the political prisoners. The government was adamant and this led to the women stripping and going on a silent strike until Moi’s government started releasing the prisoners. The women fought for their sons until they were all released. 

From the defiance of Mekatili wa Menza and Muthoni Nyanjiru against the colonial police during the invasion of our territories, to Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima who fought alongside men during the Mau Mau years, to second liberation heroes such as Wangari Maathai, women have led by example by showing bravery and defiance against the skewed system being enforced through the police. This baton has been passed to MVSN which continues to organize against these atrocities being committed by the police in poor neighbourhoods. Being victims, survivors and witnesses of police injustices, these women chose to rise above their anger and setbacks and channel their energy and efforts by creating awareness in the community, and support others who have been or who would have been victims. Instead of giving up, these women have transformed from being victims to community human rights defenders in the different settlements they come from. They now stand as the vanguard of the community against rogue police officers and the system that creates and supports them. Nduku Mwangagi is one of these victims who swore to protect others from the rogue police officers after losing her adopted son.

 Mwaura’s Story

“I met Mwaura, a street boy in Soweto, in 2004, and I took him in. He was a young boy with no family in Nairobi. His siblings were living with his grandmother in Sabasaba, Murang’a. I offered to take him to school but since he had spent years on the streets he begged me to allow him to work as a co-driver in my lorry. I agreed to that because he needed to trace his family and support his siblings and grandmother. Mwaura became my first son. I felt so protected with him, he loved me like a mother and respected me as a mother. Mwaura was killed in 2008 by police at Kona Market in Kayole, I have never been that frustrated my whole life. I still remember how he would smile and call me Mama Mathew. The fact that I never got the chance to bury him and even never found his body still brings tears in my eyes until today. That is why I fight against EJEs and against all these injustices. I don’t keep quiet in the face of injustices and no one should.” Nduku Mwangangi, Mwaura’s guardian.

The Social Justice Movement has organized communities against these injustices to try and force the state into accountability. Instead of initiating the investigations, the state has in most times responded by intimidation, surveillance and a crackdown of human rights defenders. This use of police force was witnessed during the annual Saba Saba (July 7th) March For Our Lives by the Social Justice Movement, when more than sixty activists, human rights defenders and members of community were arrested for participating in this peaceful protest commemorating the activities of the second liberation struggle in Kenya. 

The Kenya Police Force & Stalled Reforms

The National Police Service is not yet a service but remains largely a force. The change in name from ‘force’ to ‘service’ did not solve the many underlying issues facing our police force. The force that was inherited at independence in 1963 has remained relatively the same in function, operation and culture, among other aspects. The police service was supposed to be citizen-centric in the way it handles complaints from the public. This is far from what Kenyans are used to in our local police stations. The reform of uniforms and change of name hasnn’t brought any change to the police culture in Kenya. 

The Kenya Police Force needs a radical surgery or a total overhaul, together with the system that created it. The many years of reform seems to have hit a brick wall and the changes are no longer effective. The curriculum used by the Kenya Police College needs to focus more on instilling patriotism, dignity for human life and professionalism, while the recruiters should focus on passion to serve and other aspects such as IQ, rather than the physical aspects that are long outdated.

Will reforms work to bring the stalled changes needed in our police forces? Is defunding the police force a viable solution? And should we give a thought to the ideologues who say we should abolish the police?

Until we uproot the system that created this police force, it shall continue to be a ‘FORCE’ rather than a ‘SERVICE’, the issue of mental health among the police shall continue to be a thorn in our flesh, and cases of suicide among the force shall go on. Until a radical surgery is given, professionalism will be an alien vocabulary to our police officers; until we cut the stem that supports a moribund system, Kenyans and the citizens of the world shall continue to suffer in the hands of these police forces.

Written By Faith Kasina (Coordinator of Kayole Community Justice Centre) &bGathanga Ndung’u (Member- Kenya Organic Intellectuals Network & Ruaraka Social Justice Centre (RSJC))

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/topic/Karimi-Nduthu
  2. https://nation.africa/kenya/news/karimi-nduthu-mwakenya-leader-who-remained-defiant-until-his-brutal-death-3335560
  3. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/5/9/the-kenyan-mothers-fighting-to-end-police-brutality
  4. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/entertainment/nainotepad/2001261426/bare-breatsed-crusade-when-mothers-of-political-prisoners-stripped-at-uhuru-park
  5. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2009/06/kenyan-government-must-act-urgently-end-impunity-bring-about-essential-reform-20090612/
  6. https://missingvoices.or.ke/
  7. https://www.hrw.org/blog-feed/hong-kong-protests
  8. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2021/02/nigeria-end-impunity-for-police-violence-by-sars-endsars
  9. https://deflem.blogpost.com/1994/08/law-enforcement-in-british-colonial.html?m=1
  10. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327002172_crime_politics_and_the_police_in_colonial_kenya_1939-63
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anti-capitalism Social Justice Centres Working Group

#NJAA REVOLUTION

#KASARANI4

By Nahashon Kamau, Kasarani Social Justice Centre

The sun was hotter than usual in our pockets. I went to the Center where comrades were gathering preparing for the Njaa Revolution crusade hosted by Kasarani Social Justice Center.

I had carried a few cartons to be used as writing materials. The other comrades had arrived earlier with the materials. Comrades were very joyful, another day to fight against the oppressive system created and controlled by countable individuals.

I stood at the end of the room silently observing everyone writing revolutionary messages on their cartons. They didn’t even mind what they were writing on so long as the message was brief and concise.

Comrades decided that they were behind schedule so they should get going. The peaceful demonstration was to pass through Sunton then to proceed to Mwiki along Kasarani Mwiki road.

Due to time constraints, comrades decided to proceed with Kamuti-ini road. Comrade Ojango had the mini mega phone chanting revolutionary messages with the comrades.

“Tuko njaa” he said and we chorused “tuko njaa.” Wakenya mko njaa?” he asked the community members who had started coming out of their houses and others from their daily routine .The members of the community took photographs and videos using their “Mukias”. They were intrigued by the comrades audacity to come out to the streets chanting revolutionary songs.

“Nchi gani hii, wanataka tukufe njaa?”.

The boxes read “Wakenya mko njaa?” At this time we were at Garage stage proceeding to Maji Mazuri. On reaching Maji Mazuri, community members had started joining us slowly and gathering around. We halted and started engaging them.

I glimpsed at one of the placard it read “we can’t eat food for thought.” Ojango and Maryann engaged the people with the people’s budget briefly then we were on our way to Mwiki. Comrades were careful not to disrupt traffic and avoid any confrontations. I noticed we were now approaching the long awaited destination ACK road Mwiki. All along the walk we engaged the community members.

Close to the first streets a substantial mass of kiosk vendors, shop keepers and hawkers were taking photos or videos. I noticed a few local opinion leaders taking pictures or videos but I was quickly drawn back to the crusade.

At that moment, comrades were chanting our slogans and reading the people’s budget which was passed around for them to express their opinions. The masses were deeply pleased and accepted the people’s budget.

Most of them thought it was the real budget that was read by the state officers but we made it clear that it was our own proposed mwanainchi budget.

The police were arriving one by one from Mwiki Police Station. At first they tried to arrest Comrade Ojango but we pulled him away from the officer. I was surprised how we managed to hold onto Ojango because the officer was built heavily. The police officer retreated back to their Mahindra police pickup.

Comrades were careful incase of any confrontations. We continued with our procession. In the middle of the road we heard police sirens. The police had regrouped and were many. We tried to keep people together telling each other “musitoroke,” “when we loose our fear they loose their power.” Comrades now were almost reaching the Budalangi sub-chief’s office.

When the police officers reached closer to the comrades, they dispersed strategically eluding arrest. Upon reaching the bodaboda stage, I saw a plain-clothed officer grabbing Comrade Minoo by the collar and hitting her on the chest. Instinctively, I started walking towards them.

Immediately I heard people shouting “shika huyo,” and to my surprise they were referring to me. The OCS said kuja tuongee. Events unfolded very quickly; one minute I was being hauled up by the waist. I tried telling and pleading with them that I was not resisting arrest. My plea fell on deaf ears. I overpowered the two officers.

I remember the OCS together with his officers, including a traffic officer, were standing very near and assisting. They made the whole situation look like I was resisting arrest. I was not read my rights before being arrested. I felt like I was kidnapped by utumishi kwa wote. I was still pleading with them to let me board their vehicle peacefully but the only language they understood was brute force.

I was violently shoved inside the back of the pickup falling on my back. Little did I know that a plain clothed officer was waiting for me to land on my back with his fists ready for a brutal beating.

He pressed me with his knee on my chest hitting me violently like I was a punching bag. I felt so powerless; it was like he was looking for a reason to kill us. He wanted to provoke me so that he could find a concrete reason to kill us. Incase I had raised a fist against him you could probably be raising funds for my hospital bill or funeral.

He released all his police frustrations on my head. I had to guard my face after receiving several blows on my lips and chin. After that he tried to strangle me. All this time Comrade Minoo was screaming at him to stop pounding me. The other officers had already boarded the pickup. All this time he had managed to handcuff my left arm and he tightened the cuff. The other officers helped him to cuff my right hand. I stood bent and sat on the right side of the bench close to Comrade Minoo.

He turned his attention on Minoo, pounded her with his fists, hitting her severally on her right eye which swelled immediately. I tried to stop him but he hit me again, this time on the left side of my forehead severally, and on the right four times which I tried to dodge and block. The vehicle had reached Red Soil road where it stopped. Comrade Clinton was forced to board. They shoved him to the left corner of the vehicle. The violent officer hit him below the right eye where he sustained a cut and started bleeding. I tried to plead to him to stop hitting him because he had undergone an eye surgery after being hit by a nail early last year. The image is deeply embedded in my mind.

Anytime I close my eyes the first image is him staring at me. Along Red Soil road the officer was staring me dead in the eyes. He had opened his eyes wide open staring at me. I stared back at him. I could tell from his eyes that he was disappointed because he didn’t kill my spirit. I didn’t fear him. We stared at each other now at Mwiki stage.

He started accusing us that “hiyo bangi mnavuta mnatuletea vurugu uku Mwiki leo mtakipata.” He asked me “hizo sheria ulikua unasema sasa ziko wapi” I answered him “umesema ninyamaze.” On reaching Mwiki Police Station, the pickup reversed up to the station door. The officers ordered us out of the police vehicle and into the OB room where the violent officer frisked me vigorously then the officers at the OB took over.

I didn’t see the violent officer again after he removed the handcuffs. We were booked and our phone, money and wallets labeled together with our bags were confiscated. Comrade Minoo stopped them from reading her notebook telling them it was infringing on her privacy. When I switched off my phone it was around mid noon. They ordered us to our respective cells after telling us to remove one shoe and belts.

Inside the cell we met other victims of this slave system. Their material conditions had forced them to be there. We engaged with them. The stench coming out of the dilapidated nothing close to a toilet, burned the nostrils and eyes. The situation was so overwhelming in regards to what we were fighting for.

Article 43 is the most basic right a human being can enjoy. Momentarily we heard commotion. From far I could identify Comrade Brayan and Kinuthia’s voices. From my side it felt so strong that the spirit of comradely love still perseveres.

We heard them say “tufungulie ata sisi tuingie huku nje nikubaya.” The cell was opened, Comrades entered ,checked on our well being, dinner was served, we ate, and started singing “nchi gani hii inataka tukufe njaa?

Officers came and released the comrades. They were ordered to go home or risk being arrested. Comrades kept coming in solidarity. They hastily took our finger prints while interrogating each of us. Do you work for Muhuri? Were you being used by politicians? Who is funding you ? They even tried/pretended to side with us. The OCS and Deputy OCS with other officers visited the male cell asking who was assaulted by police officers, and we told him all of us.

He referred a former inmate to describe the situation at Industrial Area Remand Prison. He asked if I was ever beaten for committing a mistake. I said for leaking sugar. He insisted if you go to Inda you will receive worse beating and monolization than this.

All this time, what they really wanted to know is who were the leaders of #Mwiki4. At around 8 or 9 pm we heard bullet sounds, shouting, running and finally nothing. We were quickly transported to Kasarani Police Station, to await court proceedings. We were booked with resisting arrest and having an illegal gathering.

Inside the cells you could feel and see the victimization of the so called leaders of tomorrow. Every single cell mate had his own story, but the material conditions due to Covid-19 and the increase in the prices of basic commodities was a common foundation.

The state should stop investing in the prison industrial complex and invest more in cottage industries. We made friends and had a political education class. Comrades were always there all the time, giving more solidarity. The cells were spacious. We ate poorly cooked ugali and cabbage which is a delicacy in prison. We dozed off.

At around 2-3 am, we heard loud commotion and the door was forcefully opened waking all of us. I woke up hastily and stood at the door, after opening the door an officer said “nimewaletea nyama.” One of the cell mate who had stayed there for sometime had already reached the door, grabbed the noisy drank and pushed him straight into the toilet which was flooded with foul alcohol stinking sewage. The new cellmate was chased from the other cells because he kept shouting “ethiopians.” The Nigerian we were sharing the cell with kept reminding us the rules of the house: “close the door friend.” I went back to my part of the floor. The new cell mate reached our cell and shouted “ethiopian.”

Comrade Clinton told him to close the door. He was recognized by the new cellmate. He called out “Didi” then I heard “Jose,” finally I heard “chair.” We were all there coincidentally at that bizarre moment and place.

We were overwhelmed and kept talking about our circumstances. We were cut short by our fellow cellmate: “tell your friend to take it easy. “There was major victimization of the boy child. The male cells were several and large compared to one small female cell. How many of our comrades shall they kill until we realize it is time to wake up. No more matyrs!

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May Day 01.05.21 Protestors March Towards State House

Revolutionary Greetings to all the workers of the World. Today as we mark International Day of the workers, we express our solidarity with all the workers in Kenya and beyond. On this day, we in Kenya choose to reflect on the State of the Nation and what the pandemic has meant for thousands of workers in the country.

On the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year, the country was launched into uncertainty and panic as the world we knew was halted by the mysterious virus. World over, governments got into swift action to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on its people cushioning them socially and economically.  Here in Kenya the uncreative, plutocratic government employed their clownish antics barking out measures on a daily basis with no concrete scientific backing or connection to the realities of common mwananchi. To date, they continue to do so with little progress to show, tangible or otherwise. Behind the scenes they continue to feed their insatiable appetite of external borrowing and looting public resources, pushing further the already strained economy to its death bed. One year on, the government continues to tighten the noose on the necks of Kenyans with zero investment towards relieving the plight of the masses. We are now held hostage in our own country under unscientific, below the par unrealistic measurements. What started as a health crisis in other parts of the world landed in Kenya as a political and security issue with boots and guns released to the masses instead of white coats and vaccines.

Thousands of workers have lost their livelihoods around the country yet in the fallacious manifestos, the two Godfathers of corruption, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and William Ruto together with their ODM partners in thievery under the leadership of Raila Amolo Odinga, promised to create jobs especially for the youth. In their classic lameness, they continue to mock the youth in Kenya by dangling the carrots of kazi Mtaani and ridiculous wheelbarrownomics, indignifying further a disgruntled populace. How can a government loathe its people that much? That in the middle of a pandemic and with the massive job cuts they continue to loot the country coffers while locking the economy that mwananchi depends on? The constitution of Kenya under article 43 demands that every Kenyan is entitled to social welfare, quality healthcare and education, decent housing. What we have however witnessed is a dilapidated healthcare system, a confused and clueless school curriculum that has affected the quality of education our children get and a shamelessly odious external borrowing only for the funds to line the pockets of the hoggish cabal. 

We the people of Kenya, stand in solidarity with all the workers. We remember and honor the frontline workers that have died in the line of duty, abandoned by a government that was supposed to protect them. We have at heart and mind those that have been inhumanely left homeless through the evictions and destruction of their homes. We remember those innocent Kenyans that have bore the brunt of a ferine police force that has traumatized and oppressed thousands during this pandemic at the nod of their masters. We stand with all hardworking Kenyans that have lost their live hoods and now live in strenuous conditions that take a toll on their mental health. We stand with Kenyans, young and old, who have had enough and are keen to forge an army to take back our country.

In the same breathe, we the people demand:

  1. That Uhuru Kenyatta and his political groupies unconditionally unlock our country with immediate effect. The pandemic is not a political opportunity or security issue. It is a healthcare and behavioral change issue and thus should be treated as such. The dusk to dawn curfews and partial lockdowns are not only unscientific but unrealistic.
  2. That the government rolls out a well elaborated social welfare plan to cushion vulnerable Kenyans during this pandemic.
  3. Stop all the inhumane evictions being witnessed around the country.
  4. Stop aiding police brutality and extra judicial killings. All murderers in uniform must be brought to book and punished severely.
  5. Fully implement article 43 and restore the dignity of Kenyans.
  6. Lastly but most importantly, we call for the resignation of Uhuru Kenyatta and his cronies. You have failed the country and treated the constitution with disdain, refusing to live by its spirit and attempting to subvert the will of the people though the illegitimate BBI. You have lost all moral authority to lead this country. Pack your bags and go.

To all progressive Kenyans, We call upon you, invoking the spirit of our fore fathers and freedom fighters, to arise and take back our country. We cannot live in fear anymore. When we lose our fear, they lose their power. Arise Patriots Arise. Aluta continua.

Find the full statement for the May Day Protest here:

 Statement By Police Reforms Working Group:

We, the Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya (PRWG-Kenya), are alarmed and utterly dismayed by the illegal arrest, detention, and killing of Collins, a youth from Mathare in Nairobi County on 29th April 2021. This is the latest killing of a Mathare youth allegedly by a most rogue police officer known as Baraza, who operates in Mathare and Pangani areas within Nairobi County. 

Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) meticulously documented Collins’ abduction in a timeline shared on Twitter. MSJC sent pleas for help to the National Police Service, the Inspector General of NPS, the Director of Criminal Investigations without recourse…

Find the full Police Reforms Working Group Statement Here:

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Drugs and police in Mathare, by Lucy Wambui

Lucy Wambui, is an activist based in Mathare and member of MSJC.

Drug use among young people in Nairobi’s slums is on the rise. Youth also face arbitrary arrests by the police, resulting in jail time which turns them into hardcore criminals in a vicious cycle.

Those who have lived in Mathare know the various challenges faced by the many people that call this place home. When I say Mathare, I mean the whole six wards in Mathare. We lack basic services and needs; there is poor sanitation, a lack of proper housing, and a lack of jobs mostly for our youths. Many of us also count ourselves lucky if we have food every day.

At the same time, youth between 9-30 years are now increasingly using drugs. And I want to highlight why they are into drugs, where they get the money for drugs, and how this makes them a target of police abuse of power, including: extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, extortion, and arbitrary arrests.

The connection between drugs and crime among the youths in Mathare is seen, for instance, when they involve themselves in criminal activities like petty robbery in order to get money to buy drugs. Criminals also use drugs as a form of boosting confidence before they get into crime. At the same time, due to arbitrary arrests happening daily within the slums, youths are detained on allegations of drug use and trafficking, which land them in jail. After they are released, they come out being hardcore criminals, involving themselves more in crime.

Being born and brought up in a family that sells and uses drugs creates an environment for one to get into crime as well. This is even if your family are selling “illegal” alcohol and drugs to make ends meet; there are barely any jobs for us from Mathare, and our mothers selling chang’aa has enabled us to eat and go to school. But the addiction that comes about, even when one just started with small doses, can change one’s life completely. For example, Sandra, a woman I know said:

I am a mother of two and I am in my late twenties. My addition started when I was just a young girl. My mother used to sell chang’aa [illegal alcohol] and sell shash [marijuana]. I first indulged in drugs when I was just eight years old and I would take the drugs unnoticed and use them without anyone knowing. My thirst for money and harder drugs increased, and I started spiking the drinks of the clients who came to drink in our home, and I would steal from them any valuables I would find like watches, money, phones, and any other thing that would equate to cash. That’s how I got myself into crime and to date I still go to the big bars and clubs, and when I see an easy prey, I spike their drink and run away with anything I could lay my hands on. The desire for money and addiction to drugs is what makes me do this. I blame my mum for this because were it not for the environment she brought me up in I would have studied, and I would be a better person in the society.

But depression and life situations also can influence us to use drugs. Halima (20), a single mother from Mathare also shared that:

When I was just a small girl my dad was killed by the police after he was labeled a criminal. After my father was killed, me and my brother were raised by a single mum and life was not easy for us. At the age of 15 I got married and got a child. When my child was two years old my brother got arrested and jailed. My husband had a road accident the following year and died. I was left to raise my kid alone and this drove me to depression, and I started using drugs. It got so serious to the extent that I was not able to raise my kid and my mother-in-law took him to raise him.

We can see that the government also has a role to play, they create and sustain this negative environment. When I interacted with most youths here in Mathare, I understood why the Kenyan authorities and young men in the slums play a cat and mouse game: they are like water and oil, they can never mix. According to most youths in the area, they say that instead of police officers maintaining law and order and protecting life, they make crime increase. The police are the ones who provide guns to them to go and commit crimes, and police get money from drug dens, ensuring that drugs are always sold where poor people can see them, where poor people live.

At the same time, the police are arresting youths daily using fabricated charges, and some end up being disappeared and others are killed by police. This makes youths get into crime and use drugs because they have given up on life, and they don’t know who will be next in the hands of a killer cop.

The protection of drug peddlers is also enabled by many people “in high places,” who protect them and protect their interests. These people have both interests in drugs and in crime and stopping any of these businesses would definitely cost them a lot. These peddlers include politicians, the police and the so-called local business community.

It is said that politicians are the ones who own these drugs, and they have to protect the people who sell them to ensure that there is regular flow of cash. These politicians are the ones who benefit most from criminal groups, and the ones who do nothing when we are killed. They use the petty drug dealers to cause mayhem during campaigns and other political functions, by just giving them some drugs and little cash that can make them go wild. And the police know both the politicians and those who sell drugs. But for them they make it a profit: they go to these dens daily collecting cash, which people call ushuru [taxes] or tango, and if they target anyone, they target the young men peddlers trying to make ends meet not the politicians.

The taxes they get, given out by the peddlers and other members of the “business community,” are costs for protection, making sure that drugs can be sold another day. And it is the poor who suffer the most because of these profits, like Halima and Sandra, when their families are torn apart.

Original article can be found at Africa is a Country here.

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Kenya A Prison Notebook

“Written 25 years ago, Kenya: A Prison Notebook has inspired generations and proved a great resource and a handbook in political education in Kenya and beyond. It chronicles Maina Wa Kinyatti’s arrest and detention by the Moi regime and powerfully captures Kenya’s history. Maina wa Kinyatti was then a university professor and foremost researcher on the Mau Mau (Kenya Land and Freedom Army), the liberation movement that engaged the British colonialists in the armed struggle for land and freedom. In 1982, he was arrested by state agents for ‘possession of seditious material’ and detained by the Moi regime. Maina wrote Kenya: A Prison Notebook over the course of the next six and half years he spent in detention – mostly in solitary confinement. Maina’s work and writing remain a constant and painful reminder that the objectives of the freedom struggle the Mau Mau engaged in are yet to be achieved. Kenya is a neo-colonial state. Her economy is in the hands of global capital and imperialism, while constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms are everyday blatantly disregarded with impunity. Maina’s generation continued with the struggle for a better society and showed great courage by confronting a regime that was prepared to go to any lengths to suppress dissenting voices. Today, another generation is continuing with that struggle in fulfillment of its historical responsibility.

Through this collection of reflections on Kenya: A Prison Notebook, young comrades from various movements and organizations interrogate the lived reality and material conditions of their generation whilst relating them to past struggles and experiences. They reflect on a range of themes; including the purpose of education as a tool for liberation or bondage; the unfinished task of national liberation; intergenerational inheritance of social struggles in Kenya; not forgetting the pain, courage, patriotism, and organizing reflected in the book. These reflections are a celebration of Maina wa Kinyatti and all those who engaged in struggles for a better Kenya and Afrika. They additionally are an urgent reminder of the need to organize more than ever given the lived reality and material conditions of our people – those living in deprivation, those whose rights are suppressed and freedoms infringed. They are a reminder that struggle, like change, is a constant. These reflections were inspired by a conversation-on at Ukombozi Library between Gacheke Gachihi, Nicholas Mwangi, and Brian Mathenge.A Luta continua! Sungu Oyoo – Editor

Full PDF of the Book can be found here.

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Nigel Topping, UN Climate Champion of Climate Change Visiting Mathare MSJC and Mathare Green Movement

Nigel Topping, recently appointed UK High-Level Climate Action Champion, visited Mathare Social Justice Centre to speak with MSJC members on ecological justice. He showed support for the Mathare Green Movement, a campaign to bring dignity to the lives of people through environmental justice.

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Social Justice Reggae Kiamaiko: ‘Ndoto Za Mau Mau’

By Lena Anyuolo

Music as a form of art has been used as a progressive tool for educating and organizing the oppressed masses. Reggae music has played a crucial role in educating the people towards self-emancipation, progressive organizing and a collective awakening to end neo-colonialism and imperialism. ‘Watoto Wanasay’ will be a segment of the reggae session that will allow children in the community to be seen and heard as critical members of the community.

The first session of the ‘Reggae Mtaani’ series was held on 14th November 2020 at Al-Jazeera, Kiamaiko. The host centre was the Kiamaiko Community Justice Centre. Reggae Mtaani is a community organizing tool that aims at bringing community members towards collective reflection and collective action against marginalisation. The organizing principles are self-emancipation, resistance, restoration, redemption, liberation and celebration.

The thematic topics discussed during the session at Aljazeera were forced evictions and land injustices, gender based violence, extrajudicial executions, constitutionalism, social justice, the language of our music and ecological justice. It was also a celebration  of our history where we paid homage to freedom fighters, using this collective memory of the struggle to reflect on where we have come from and the task of our generation to realise ‘Ndoto za Mau Mau’ (the dreams of Mau Mau).

Under the segment ‘Watoto Wanasay’, we tackled children’s rights and gave children in the community a chance to have the mic to give their opinion on the positive changes needed in the community.

Reggae Mtaani  also celebrated the unsung heroes in the community such as garbage collectors, community health workers, human rights activists and the women who run the coffee and jaba bases in Kiamaiko, which are valued as communal meeting spaces for relaxation, organising and psychosocial healing.

Reggae Mtaani deconstructed the negative stereotype often used to criminalize the youth using the narrative that falsely equates jabaration, reggae music and youth bases with ‘illegal activity.’ It showed the community that a congregation where reggae music is played does not have to be a funeral or a night club, but a space where our collective consciousness is raised for self emancipation, restoration, resistance, redemption and celebration.

Reggae Mtaani was conceptualized and brought to life through the collective  effort of members of  Social Justice Centres. The activity at Aljazeera was coordinated by: MSJC- Antony ‘Kanare’ Muoki, Kinuthia Mwangi, Lena Anyuolo; DJ Talanta: ‘The one hand DJ’ was the main deejay for the event; Githurai and Ghetto radio – Edgar ‘Liberator’ Ogutu who MC’d the event and provided key information on the logistics and structure of the day; comrades from Kiamaiko Social Justice Centre who provided the chairs and hosted the activity; Al Jazeera  Group and Voice of Kiamaiko provided the venue, event marshals, and co-hosted the activity; the broader Social Justice Network in Mathare provided the sound system; and EBTI Sacco provided transportation for the equipment.

A notable success of the activity is that it was not funded, relying wholly on available resources from individuals, groups in the community and the social justice centres.

Besides members of the Kiamaiko community, the following social justice centres were also represented by their members – Kiamaiko, Ruaraka, Mathare, Ghetto Foundation, Kayole, Komarock, Githurai, Dandora and Kamukunji.

Reggae Mtaani will be a series of weekly reggae sessions held every Sunday in different ghettos in Nairobi. The sessions will be hosted by the various social justice centres within Nairobi’s informal settlements.

The next vibration will be hosted by the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC).

To all our comrades, men an women actively engaged in the struggle, we say this: “Continue Organizing. ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE!” AMANDLA!

See pictures from the first session below:

 

 

 

 

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Citizens’ Demands by the Social Justice Movement in Kenya

Nairobi, July 8, 2020 

To: 

Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta 

President of the Republic of Kenya 

Harambee House 

 

Re: Citizens’ Demands 

 

WE members of the Social Justice Movement in Kenya; 

PURSUANT to article 1 of the Constitution of Kenya 2020, which recognizes us as Sovereigns and the source of all State authority, 

HAVING wished to present to you our petition on the 30th anniversary of Saba Saba yesterday; 

HAVING been violently disrupted by policemen sent by your administration to violate our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms including the right to peaceful assembly, expression and protest; 

FURTHER HAVING addressed various offices within your administration and received no meaningful attention; 

UNDERSTANDING that you have violated the Constitution on numerous occasion including failing to protect the lives of all Kenyans especially those of us from poor and neglected informal settlements; 

RECOGNIZING that you have taken everything from us including our dreams for a better future through institutionalized corruption; 

HAVING little to live for under your administration; 

READY AND WILLING to die for Justice, our Constitution and our Communities; 

DO NOW wish to address you and demand as follows; 

1. THAT you should understand that you are our leader and not ruler 

2. THAT we are sovereign citizens and not your subjects 

3. THAT implementation of the Constitution is not a choice but a duty for you and all of us 

4. THAT you have no right to mutilate our Constitution for narrow and selfish political interest to the detriment of the rest of the 50 million Kenyans 

5. THAT we demand that stop the BBI process immediately; implement the Constitution in full; no excuses! Tekeleza Katiba sasa! 

6. THAT you must direct the BBI budget to services that Kenyans really need especially provision of water, food, sanitation and healthcare 

7. THAT you must respect and Implement the Bill of Rights without any qualification or exception – Kenyans rights are not a privilege for you to regulate; they are an entitlement and we are ready to die for them 

8. THAT you must stop killing us – terminate and prosecute all the Officers Commanding Police Stations that have contracted extrajudicial killings in Nairobi and across the country; terminate and prosecute all the Police officers who have participated, abetted or aided extrajudicial killings; terminate and prosecute all the Police officers who have concealed and/or compromised investigations on extrajudicial killings 

9. THAT you must stop playing the game of musical chairs with criminal police officers; you must stop transferring them from one police station to another; we demand that they every rogue police officer must be terminated, prosecuted and those found guilty jailed; all of them 

10. THAT you must stop criminalizing youth and poverty; stop it immediately 

11. THAT you must stop weaponizing COVID 19 against Kenyans; stop police harassment and extortion of Kenyans; we demand a proper record of all resource that have been raised to help Kenyans deal with the pandemic; and we demand prosecution of all those who have stolen resources meant for communities and Kenyans from the local level to the national government 

We are tired of being victims and being terrorized by criminal state violence! If you do not respect our existence, expect our revolt! 

We demand and expect to hear from you within the next 7 days, failure to which we shall be back in the streets… and this time we shall not get out of the streets until something yields! 

For and on behalf of Social Justice Movement in Kenya; (see downloadable version here: SJCWG Citizens Demands)

Wilfred Olal 

Convener, Social Justice Centres Working Group 

0722746164 

Faith Kasina 

Convener, Social Justice Centres Working Group 

0723133329 

CC: 

All Sovereign Citizens of Kenya 

National Assembly of Kenya through the Speaker 

The Senate of the Republic of Kenya through the Speaker 

President of the Supreme Court and The Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya 

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights 

 

 

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Press Release: Saba Saba March For Our Lives – Tekeleza Katiba

30/06/2020

PRESS RELEASE

SABA SABA MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: TEKELEZA KATIBA

Introduction

Members of the press, comrades in the struggle and community members, today we are gathered here at Kayole Community Justice Centre, to launch a series of activities geared towards our annual March in quest for justice famously dubbed as “saba saba march for our lives”.

The previous marches have been organised around injustices that we are faced with collectively from the communities that we come from, nothing has changed only that this time round we aren’t marching to the historic Kamukunji grounds but rather to Harambee avenue to present our grievances to the head of state whom the buck stops with, and is constitutional mandated to safeguard our wellbeing as a nation and not a chosen few.

The following are the issues we need to bring to his immediate attention

 

Police Brutality, Extrajudicial Executions and Enforced Disappearances

Despite the extensive input deployed towards police reforms, the police force remains a scare and a threat to the existence of many innocent lives in our informal settlements. The rise in extrajudicial killings in our settlements is a worrying trend that has left many citizens disheartened. The deliberate shooting of innocent lives and petty offenders without a second thought is the reality we are faced with on daily basis. The saddening bit is that only those cases highlighted by the media are the ones given attention whereas justice is denied to the larger section of the victims.

Equally, a worrying trend of enforced disappearance is emerging within our informal settlements as the new form of dispensing justice to suspects by the police. Such trends have been observed in Dandora, Kariobangi, Korogocho, Githurai and Kiamaiko. In this regard, we are still yet to receive any substantive information on the Kiamaiko three who disappeared on March 24th on their way from Thika.

Those who are lucky not to have fallen victim of EJE yet aren’t off the hook; they are faced with the scare of assault, extortion or harassment in the hands of the very ones bestowed with the duty to protect them.

 

Violation of Article 43

Despite the Constitution granting every citizen with rights to basic needs, i.e. water, food, shelter, housing, health, education and social security, we continue to witness the violations of these rights by the government.

Many of the informal settlements go for weeks without water, a basic commodity for survival. Those unlucky are force to walk for long distance in search for water, tagging along their children whereas the other half are left to be exploited by water cartels who sell them water at a fee which is quite expensive. Our attempts to raise this matter with various stakeholders fall on deaf ears with some of our colleagues ending up being arrested and charged in court.

Notwithstanding the scare presented by the covid-19 situation, with the recent demolitions in Kariobangi and Ruai, the government has rendered over 5000 families homeless, turning many to scavenging for food for survival.

Better healthcare still remains a mirage and a privilege of the rich. The status of our local facilities need immediate ICU like attention by the state and the county governments.

It is also important to note that the current pandemic we are faced has resulted in many being rendered unemployed, which has expanded the already bulged basket of the unemployed. Yet the intervention given by the government offers little or no hope to those unemployed, who are struggling for survival in the informal sector, but rather hope to medium sized businesses with sizeable capital. The already overburdened citizens are faced with an increase in VAT and the introduction of hustlers/mama mboga tax.

Funny enough, there are no jobs for the youths other than clearing trenches, but commissions and committees are formed to accommodate the old political allies of the states

 

Shrinking Civic Space

All indications are clear that the democratic curve in the country is gravitating towards dictatorship despite the previous milestones we have made to secure the space.

The unlawful takeover of Nairobi County by the NMS and bestowing it to the military, the silencing of parliament by executive and the struggling  judiciary are all indicators that our future as a nation is worrying.

Citizens are denied the right to assemble and organise whereas a section of the political class are favoured and accorded the to right to assemble.

 

Tekeleza Katiba

We do believe that the solutions to all our problems are entrenched in the Constitution and we demand for its full implementation and nothing else.

 

Saba Saba March for Our Lives.

Just like the previous two marches that have been very peaceful and nonviolent, we assure the Kenyan citizens that this year’s march shall equally be peaceful. We request the police to grant us our constitutional right to march against injustices and present our petition to the office of the president. We also ask the police for protection like they have done in the previous marches.

Thank you

Social Justice Movement

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