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!
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.
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!
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