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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