Social Justice Centres Social Justice Centres Working Group Solidarity

Celebration of Shujaa Yash Ghai on Mashujaa Day — October 20 2019

Sunday 20/10/2019 marks the National Mashujaa Day. This is a day when the Kenyan people collectively honour all those who have contributed and continue to contribute towards achieving a better and more just Kenya.

The bulk of the population regard ‘a better Kenya’ to be one that has equity and social justice.

We from the Social Justice Centres mark this day as a celebration of resistance, the memorialization of struggle and a collective gesture of Ubuntu.

The work and life of Professor Yash Pal Ghai epitomizes the undying spirit that flames our hope for a better Kenya. He is our elder, our uncle, our teacher and our friend, and on this day we will celebrate him not only as the founding father of the Kenyan Constitution, but also as our comrade.

Yash has remained committed to the struggle of the people of Kenya at all levels: whether through making a progressive constitution or through being a strong supporter of the social justice centres and the struggles of all marginalized peoples in Kenya and beyond.

Yash and Jill Ghai remain, in particular, our pillar at Mathare Social Justice Centre. In Mathare and in other ghettos we honour him and will continue to honour him for being one with us in our struggle for dignity and justice. He has marched with us on the streets against extrajudicial killings, he has raised his voice against corruption, he always has a word and a kind gesture for our children and is always ready to challenge impunity.

We will celebrate him on October 20th, from 11 am, at Mathare Social Justice Centre, and from 3 pm together with the Defenders Coalition at Alliance Francaise.

Viva Yash! He is our hero and is a reflection of the true spirit of a real Shujaa!


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Social Justice Centres Working Group

Rethinking Transitional Justice As A Site of Social Justice Struggles

By Gacheke Gachihi

“A small but powerful group of greedy self-seeking elite in the form of politicians, civil servants, and businessmen has steadily but very surely monopolized the fruits of independence to the exclusion of the majority of the people. “

We don’t want to create a Kenya of ten millionaires and ten million beggars” 

JM Kariuki, who was assassinated in 1975 by the Kenyatta regime, speaking in parliament on economics and social justice

Kenya has history of betrayal since independence, as the quote from JM Kariuki, who was assassinated in 1975  by the Kenyatta regime, states. It is a regime of political injustices and the betrayal of the struggle of independence by Mau Mau freedom fighter; theirs was a struggle for land and social justice. After the collapse of the International Criminal Court cases,  and the 2017 divisive election and post- election violence, we are back again in the transitional justice discourse. This time it is transitional justice through “national dialogue” led by religious leaders. This process is  named “reconciling and restoring Kenya through structured dialogue,” which is conducted as part of rescuing the stalled democratic transition. The  so-named dialogue was held at Ufungamano House from 11 – 13th September 2018. Ufungamano is a venue that has played a historical role in the struggle for democratic transition since the 1990 push for multi-party democracy, which was convened by interfaith religious leaders. There was also the Peoples Commission on Constitutional Reform Movement in 2001, that shaped a path for the opposition unity under the National  Rainbow Coalition of Kenya (NARC) Party. NARC had brought in a reformist government, led by former opposition leader Mwai Kibaki in 2002, and also brought about a new constitution in 2010, which was necessary after the political violence of 2007.

The religious leaders through the National Dialogue Conference (NDC 1) are trying to restart the process following the calm that has been triggered by the famous “handshake” between the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga. “In the recent past Kenya has witnessed  several events that have changed the pathway the nation is walking on following the 2017 general elections. One of the the major events was the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga.”  This is a quote from NDC 1 booklet. In addition, there is also a renewed drive for the fight against corruption, seen in the appointment of a new Director of Public prosecutions. The above quote speaks about a struggle to rescue a failed democratic transition over last two decades, and the pitfall of the constitutional reforms process in Kenya that tried to resolve the complex question of historical injustices and the land question through a limited human rights discourse that advocates for a liberal democratic transition and international criminal law (as happened with Kenya ICC cases in 2007-2008).

On  May 28, 2018, the Center for African Studies in Cambridge University organized activist scholars to reflect on “Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives.” This was a reflection on the potentials and pitfalls of human rights and transitional justice in Africa through grassroots social justice perspectives from Uganda, Somalia and Kenya. I participated in these discussions as the coordinator of  Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) and a member of the grassroots social justice movement. It was my objective to bring a perspective from the social justice centres in Kenya, towards rethinking transitional justice from below, and the possibilities of creating alternative political leadership by ending the cycles of ethnic violence and building a collective political and social identity in the struggle for a democratic state founded on social justice and dignity.

My reflections during this process was that transitional justice is a site of struggle for people to reclaim their dignity and social justice from histories of political violence and social injustices. This site of struggle has created a path for the social justice movement in Mathare and other informal settlements in Kenya to fight against the normalization of extra-judicial killings,  to demand their right to water, healthcare, education and housing for all as part restorative justice.

Mathare Social Justice Centre is a site to rethink transitional justice from below, through the social justice movement. As we do this we also combine efforts for ecological justice, organized around Mathare Green Movement, to plant trees as part of the memorialization of victims of post-election violence and extra-judicial killings, which occur every election cycle especially in Mathare and other urban poor areas in Kenya.

The Mathare Green Movement gives the urban poor youth and women affected by post-election violence a civic space for reflection and political education. It allows them to organize and regain their dignity, gain ecological justice and fight against a victimhood narrative framed by human rights NGOs in Kenya. This is a narrative that is framed by an international criminal law perspective that has been imposed by human rights and  legal scholars to resolve complex historical injustices and ethnic politics in Kenya since independence. My reflections at Cambridge university were grounded to challenge the limitations of a human rights discourse and liberal democratic transition. By building a path for a social justice movement that can demand reparations for victims of political violence; by ending a history of political violence, demanding restorative justice to victims of land injustices and longer intervention through a democratic state founded on social justice, people participation can address historical injustices and create a path for social and political justice and healing. The Social Justice Centres Working Group is part of the Kenya transitional justice network and the police reforms working group. All Social Justice Centres — from  Kayole, Mathare, Mukuru, Dandora, Korogocho, Githurai and elsewhere — have  been participating in police reforms through attending national security conferences and police reform dialogues  convened by the Ministry of Interior and the coordination of the national government. This process was launched by the president on 13 September  2018, at Kenya School of Government  in Kabete. The participation of the Social Justice Centres Working Group was part of the demand for police reforms  and our longstanding campaign against the normalization of police killings. These demands were part of the petition we delivered to the government during our March For Our lives on Saba Saba day,  7 July 2018, as we demanded for an end to police killings and urgent radical police reform. During the national security conference, which I attended as a convener of the Social Justice Centre Working Group, the president made a number of declarations. He placed the administration police, regular units and other security agencies under one command structure of the inspector general. This was done to create public accountability and the efficient deployment of personnel and resources. This was after protests and demand for police reforms by civil society and grassroots social movements. Article 238(2) (b) of the constitution provides for national security to be pursued within the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The police power to use force comes with responsibilities that must not be abused, as is happening in our urban poor areas and informal settlements like Mathare, Dandora, Kayole, Mukuru and many other places. After the security conference we issued a joint statement in support of the declaration, which we believe sends a clear message to all officers that are involved in unlawful killings and misconduct that they will be held personally responsible for their actions. Our  demand in the petition is also for the task force to review cases submitted to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) by the Social Justice Centre Working Group, since it is their job to prosecute all unlawful actions by security agencies.

On 29th August 2018, the international day for the commemoration of victims of enforced disappearances, we participated again in the security  sector reforms and national dialogue process meeting convened by the International Centre for Truth and Justice, as part of shaping and rethinking transitional justice from below, and framing a narrative of transitional justice through social and ecological justice. We are also building a movement of  victims and survivors in the struggle of transitional justice, so as to challenge the limits of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) established by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. We believe that it is a compromise by political elites and sectarian political interests to amend the constitution passed in 2010,  against the national interest of building a democratic state founded on social justice and human rights for all.

The Social Justice Centres Working Group is a collective leadership of registered community based organizations social justice centres established as  within poor areas of Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and now Kampala. The grassroots social justice movement formed around the social justice centre model pioneered by Mathare Social Justice Centre, and intends to create a collective voice for grassroots human rights defenders and social justice activists concerned with issues relating to human rights violations and social injustices. The main objective is to build a social justice movement and the community solidarity necessary to contest and organize against the normalization of extra-judicial killings and all injustices.

The founding membership of Social Justice Centres Working Group includes Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC), Dandora Community Justice Centre, Kayole Social Justice Centre, The Kamukunji Youth Empowerment Network,  Githurai Social Justice Centre, Korogocho Information and Justice Centre, Dagoretti Social Justice Centre, Kibera Feminist and Information Centre, Kiambiu Information and Justice Centre and Kariobangi Social justice Centre

In the last three decades the global North has imposed a liberal democratic transition model to resolve democratic governance crises in the South, and the pitfalls of this have exposed the limitation of a liberal democratic transition anchored on human rights theory and international human rights law. It has also failed to resolve historical, political and social injustices or put an end to the political and ethnic violence in Kenya. The social justice movement through the collective grassroots voice is rethinking transitional justice from a social justice perspective. One example of this, is that between March – April 2018, every Tuesday of the week Mathare Social Justice Centre convened meetings with community organizers and social activists to rethink the struggle of transitional justice, and to campaign against the normalization of extra- judicial killings as part of demanding accountability from Kenya police, and bringing historical justice to the victims of post-election violence of the last two decades. These convenings created a path for the first Saba Saba March For Our Lives that was in memory of the pro-democracy struggles in Kenya in 1990, and was a platform to demand accountability against the normalization of extra-judicial killings in informal settlements. These killings are a manifestation of the inherently violent neoliberal economic policies that have exposed millions of young people to the social injustice of police killings, mainly of of youth between age 13-24 years.


  1. Reforms will Create Accountability
  2. Monopolizing Global Justice: International  Criminal Law as a Challenge to Human Diversity,  Sarah M.H and Wounter G Werner
  3. Our Economic Political Problems are linked:–political-problems-are-linked/4259356-4786730-rjk9k8/index.html
  4. Alarm as police kill 24 people in 21 days in Nairobi:
  5. In Kenya, grassroots efforts combat alleged police abuses via @MailOnline


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Social Justice Centres Working Group Women in Social Justice Centres

Reflections on the 2019 Pan African Women’s Day at MSJC

By Lena Anyuolo

On 9th August 2019, women in the Social Justice Centres, university students and children of Mathare gathered in the hall at Mathare Social Justice Centre to commemorate Pan-African Women’s Day.  The day was significant because sixty three years ago, on 9th August, 20,000 South African women led by Lilian Ngoyi, Lilian Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the oppressive pass laws. The law required that native black South Africans carry an ‘internal passport’. This pass would determine which areas blacks were permitted to live and work in. It was similar to the kipande system in Kenya during British colonial rule. 9th August is now a public holiday in South Africa, celebrated as National Women’s Day in honour of these heroines.

The theme of the day was ‘Discussions on Building a Vibrant Women’s Movement’. The program consisted of  the screening of the documentary film, ‘Taking Root’ , which is a biographical account of Wangari Maathai’s political and environmental activism. Afterwards, the forum was opened up for discussion on the lessons we drew from the film. Collectively, we were inspired by Wangari Maathai’s courage and persistence in defending the forests, public land and the environment, and her activism in the Release Political Prisoners Campaign when she led mothers and wives of political prisoners in peaceful protests for the unconditional release of their loved ones. The protests took place at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park and later at the underground bunkers in All Saints Cathedral for 8 months.

The speakers of the day were Njoki Wamai, a professor of political science at USIU. She gave a talk on the history of women’s resistance in Africa by sharing the stories of Mekatilli, Muthoni Nyanjiru and Winnie Mandikizela and Queen Nzinga.

Julie Wanjira, the convenor of the Women in Social Justice Centres and a member of Mathare Social Justice Centre, led the session on reflections on revolutionary African Women who are a source of inspiration for the men in the gathering. Josina Machel, Winnie Mandikizela, Lilian Ngoyi, Faith Kasina (Kayole Social Justice Centre) and Carol Mwatha (Dandora Social Justice Centre) were remembered, honoured and celebrated.

This was followed by reflections by the women representing the various groups at the gathering (the Social Justice Centres and university students) on their experiences in the movement in the struggle for social justice and liberation. Representatives from Kiamaiko, Kariobangi, Mathare, Mukuru, Kariobangi, Kayole, Dandora and Komarock Social Justice Centres and the Revolutionary Socialist League all gave their reflections.

A solidarity statement from RICT was read by Irene Asuwa. The Embassy of Venezuela in Kenya sent their greetings which were delivered by Fredrick Kasuku.

The final session was for resolutions. It was agreed that every month, the women in the Social Justice Centres, through their representatives, would organise a women focused political engagement. This could be a documentary screening, community dialogue or political class/discussion with the aim of radically politicising the movement to fight for social justice and liberation. Secondly, the representatives were to give feedback on the social justice issues they face in their communities, and use these as the basis of organising the women in the communities so as to build a strong Pan African Women’s Movement.

The original Pan-African Women’s Day is marked worldwide on 31st July. The Pan African Women’s Day was organised by the women in the social justice centers and the Revolutionary Socialite League. See pictures below from this day.



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Social Justice Centre Working Group (SJCWG) meeting with Andrew Gilmour: Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

On May 13 2019 Social Justice Centre Working Group representatives met with Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and head of OHCHR in Nairobi Marcella Favretto. They met at MSJC, and also in attendance were families of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Overview of the Discussion:

  • MSJC members explained the history, development and recent growth of the Social Justice Centre Movement.
  • Brief summary of the movement’s aims and current work being undertaken locally.
  • Andrew Gilmour presented with MSJC’s most recent reports – “Maji Ni Haki” and “Who Is Next?”
  • Successes mentioned, including – the recent conviction of police officers in Ruaraka and the new women-led Kayole Social Justice Centre.
  • Social Justice Centres in attendance identified and Social Justice Centres Working Group structure explained.
  • Main challenges explained, including – threats of violence against Social Justice Centre volunteers, lack of government action, youth stereotyping and the criminalization of poverty.

Main requests put forward (for action by the UN):

  • Capacity Building (5 year plans are not enough – new centres need funding and scholarships for young, local activists would ensure sustainability)
  • Protection for Volunteers (too many volunteers have been lost – an effective protection mechanism is needed since the current process takes weeks and members end up paying out of their pockets for protection)
  • Connection with UN Agencies (there is a disconnect between agencies and grass roots organisations – agencies need to be active on the ground in cooperation with social justice centres and centres need greater representation and access to agencies)
  • Support for Families of Victims (victims’ families are champions of change – they educate people, activate the community and seek justice, so must be supported, for example by providing them with lawyers and protecting them when they attend court, as well as providing sustainable support for them in other ways)
  • Saba Saba Partnership (UN support would give the Social Justice Centre movement a greater platform at Saba Saba March 2019)

During the discussion, there was also a personal account by Mama Victor (coordinator of mother’s of victims of extrajudicial killing) of her struggles. There was also the introduction of other family members of victims and the financial, psychological and legal challenges they face. Furthermore, examples were given of cases being taken to court and the ineffective nature of IPOA discussed. Further discussion about general challenges faced by social justice centres and the lack of cooperation between grass roots social justice centres, UN agencies and embassies, who only fund mainstream organisations.

Questions asked by Andrew Gilmour:

Is there local support for extrajudicial killings? How does the community and public view petty crime?

  • Constant community dialogue has won over the communities’ support for the work of social justice centres in opposition to extrajudicial killings.
  • Discussions about youth profiling and criminalisation of poverty has educated people in the community.
  • Regarding the general public, the government justifies the police’s actions as being due to instability within informal settlements. This view is accepted by many people.
  • Social justice centres also had to hold meetings with the media to prevent the spread of negative perceptions among the public, following the killing of 11 people in three weeks in Dandora.

Is the police force recruited from the same communities suffering from extrajudicial killings?

  • Yes, partially, but police officers are often stationed in other areas very far from their own communities.
  • Unfortunately, once a “killer cop” comes under a lot of pressure in a certain community, or is convicted, another replaces him. This rotation of“killer cops” is very evident.

Does Rashid wear plain clothes?

  • Yes, but everyone knows his face, as well as those of other “killer cops” in the various other communities.
  • However, the government denies knowing these police officers exist.

What dialogue is there between social justice centres and the police?

  • Social justice centres have raised issues with the local police and even with the government cabinet.
  • They say they will follow up various issues but fail to, also claiming that issues are being exaggerated.
  • In fact, the police post MSJC meetings, statements and volunteers’ faces on their facebook pages saying that MSJC are interfering with police work.

Does #StopTheBulletsKE refer to just the bullets of extrajudicial killings or also bullets of other violence?

  • All bullets.
  • Social justice centres are often accused of supporting criminals but in fact support the rule of law, as well as the constitution.
  • Centres tackle criminal violence by organising dialogues with the youth to direct them away from crime towards alternatives.

How many cases are currently in your file of extrajudicial killings and are other types of killings recorded?

  • There are currently 35 cases, just in MSJC’s file for Mathare.
  • Only extrajudicial killings are recorded.

Are extrajudicial killings the biggest issue social justice centres deal with?

  • The Social Justice Centre movement began with the issue of extrajudicial killings and although attempting to tackle other human rights issues, extrajudicial killings have remained their focus and are the main challenge faced by the communities represented.

How many people do social justice centres represent and have other centres been visited?

  • Millions are represented. Perhaps roughly 5 million.

Who, from the UN, has sat in this room before me? Excluding Marcella.

  • No one.
  • Getting access to the United Nations agencies is very difficult.
  • Social justice centres publish reports but very little happens. This disconnect needs to be addressed so that the UN reacts when new reports are published.

Specific actions Andrew Gilmour promised to take:

  • To follow up on the case of Rashid, Mathare’s infamous “killer cop”.
  • To explore how the UN can support Saba Saba March For Our Lives 2019.
  • To raise the issues discussed during the meeting with prominent people such as ministers, ambassadors and NGOs involved in human rights in Kenya at a dinner meeting, the same evening.

Further comments made by Andrew Gilmour

  • Since the police are angry that social justice centres’ work brings attention to them, volunteers show “extraordinary courage”, putting themselves at risk.
  • The Social Justice Centre movement, as a whole, “seems to be such an effective network”.

The work being done by social justice centres is “incredibly inspiring… exceptionally impressive… far more people need to know about it

Thereafter, final comments were made by Andrew Gilmour, followed by a speech of appreciation by Social Justice Centre members.

We are grateful for the solidarity visit by Andrew Gilmour, and always for the solidarity shown to us by the courageous Marcella Favretto. See pictures from the day below.


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2019 SABA SABA Launch Press Statement by the Social Justice Centres Working Group (SJCWG)

On Wednesday, June 12, the Social Justice Centre’s Working Group (SJCWG) had their initial event marking the launch of Saba Saba activities. This was both a press conference and a legal clinic at the Mukuru Social Justice Centre. Below is the press statement that came out of this event, and we look forward to all being part of Saba Saba activities that will culminate in the march for our lives on July 7 2019.


The Social Justice Centres Working Group is a network and the collective leadership of all Social Justice Centres, and that was formed one year ago during the Saba Saba March for our Lives in 2018. This event saw various Social Justice Centres come together to protest the normalization of extra – judicial killings in the informal settlements. This was the first time all poor communities from Nairobi came together to demand an end to police killings. Over a thousand people came together during the March to demonstrate against state killings of young men in informal settlements. The theme for the day was all lives matter. Indeed, all lives matter.

There are now twenty three Social Justice Centres in different parts of the country whose activities are unified under the Social Justice Centres Working Group (SJCWG). We saw the need to consolidate the efforts of the various centres and solidify the impact by working together. Together we are united for dignity and to continuously struggle against an oppressive state.

Since the Saba Saba March of 2018, we have made a lot of progress together. In this regard, we have seen:

  1. The rapid growth of social justice centres across the country: in Nairobi, Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi, Kakamega, Mombasa and Kisumu.
  2. Through consistent and vigorous campaigns against extra-judicial killings, we have been able to give the crisis the weight and attention it deserves, stirring the nation to solution-oriented conversations around this gross human rights violation and social injustice.
  3. We have been able to give the victims of violations the courage, support, voice and platform to seek redress. This is seen, in particular, in the strength of the Mothers of Victims and Survivors of Extrajudicial Killings campaign that has close to 50 members.
  4. We have also successfully engaged duty bearers and formed progressive working relations with the Police Reforms Working Group.
  5. Through documentation of human rights violations and linking the community to agencies and organisations that help them pursue justice, more people have been encouraged to come out and seek justice for violations against them, restoring hope for the rule of law. Also, dozens of cases are now ongoing against suspected killer cops.
  6. Furthermore, the Social Justice Centres have been participating in writing the universal periodic review that documents Kenya’s human rights record.

The Plan for Saba Saba 2019

Due to the rapid growth of Social Justice Centres emerging in Kisumu, Nairobi and the coastal region, this year the Saba Saba March for our lives will take place in the three regions with concurrent and joint activities. The main events will be:

  • A Social Justice Centres National Congress that will bring all justice centres together to chart a roadmap for the next year.
  • Art for social justice exhibition and concert that will memorialize victims and survivors of extrajudicial killings.
  • March for our lives on July 7, with the theme #Stopthebullets to symbolically demonstrate all the bullets Kenyans are facing. Such as the killings of women, lack of water, normalization of extrajudicial killings, lack of access to health and education, an inadequate and corrupt leadership.
  • A survivors convening that will bring together all survivors of human rights violations to meet with duty bearers.
  • A media breakfast that will bring together activists and media personalities to discuss models of documenting and reporting human rights violations.
  • Saba Saba memorial lecture at the University of Nairobi in reflections of struggle for democracy in Kenya

Today, this press release and legal aid clinic, marks the start of the events leading to Saba Saba day, and we are grateful for all the support we have received from our comrades, communities and supporting justice organizations.

We welcome you all to these events and to be part of the struggle that is anchored and will be taken forward by all of the Social Justice Centres.  Organize, Educate and Liberate towards building a democratic state in Kenya founded on social justice and human rights for all.

Contact :

  1. Convener Social justice Centres Working Group: Wilfred Happy Olal (+ 254722746164):
  2. Co- convener Social justice Centres Working Group: Faith Kasina (+254 723133329)
  3. Secretary Social Justice Centres Working Group: Njoki Gachanja (+254779081479)









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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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Saba Saba 2018: Social Justice Centres Working Group Documentary


Saba Saba Day 2018 was a big day for all of us at the Social Justice Centres Working Group. We came together, on this historical day, to demand an end to the killings of residents in the poor communities of Nairobi. Too many had been lost, and over 500 protestors came together to walk to Kamukunji grounds to demand justice and dignity for all. The above short documentary speaks to these events, and we thank, especially, Colas Lemaire and Amnesty International for their support in making this video possible.

The Social Justice Centres Working Group continues to fight for the right to life, dignity, respect and justice for all.




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Remembering Carol “Mtetezi” Mwatha

Our sister, friend and mtetezi Carol Mwatha died in early February in very tragic circumstances. Over a hundred human rights defenders went to bury her in Siaya on February 23 2019.

We still mourn her absence but celebrate her spirit and work for justice. No matter what narratives continue about Carol, we are inspired by her fire and we take small comfort in knowing “comrades don’t die, comrades multiply.”

Rest in Power dear Caro. Viva mtetezi, Viva!

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Social Justice Centres Working Group

Rethinking Transitional Justice from Community Social Justice Centres in Kenya

During the months of March – April  2018,  every Tuesday of the week, Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) convened meetings with network community organizers and social activists to rethink the struggle of transitional justice, and campaign against the normalization of extrajudicial killings as part of demanding accountability from the Kenya police, and thinking through redressing the historical injustices against the victims of post- election violence of the last two decades.

The convening created a path for the Saba Saba March For Our Lives that was in memory of the struggle for pro-democracy in Kenya in the 1990s, and which acted as a platform to demand accountability against the normalisation of extrajudicial killings in the urban poor informal settlements. These killings are a manifestation of the inherently violent neoliberal economic policies that have exposed millions of young people to social injustices and police killings of youth between the ages 13-24 years.

Picture of Prof. Yash Pal Ghai during a community dialogue on the Building Bridges initiative in Mathare 

The meetings were organized by the Social Justice Centres Working Group, which provides a collective leadership of registered community based organizations established as Social Justice Centres in Nairobi’s informal settlements. The Social Justice Centres Working Group was inspired by Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) to convene social justice movements to rethink the struggle for democracy and social justice from grassroots alternatives, after the pitfalls of a liberal democratic transition constitution – made by the middle class civil society in Kenya.

The social justice movement is contesting the normalisation of extrajudicial killings, social injustices and gross human rights violations, that have been normalised in the urban poor settlements because of the manifestation of neoliberal economic policies over the last three decades.

Picture of mothers of victims of the extrajudicial killings network during Saba Saba march for our lives

The founding membership of the Social Justice Centres working group includes Mathare Social Justice Centre, Dandora Community Justice Centre, Kayole Social Justice Centre, The Kamukunji Youth Empowerment Network,  Githurai Human Rights Network, Korogocho Social Justice Centre, Kibera Social Justice Centre and Kiambiu Information and Justice Centre.

Picture of Mathare Green Movement (MGM) mural for memory and ecological justice

By Gacheke Gachihi

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