SABA SABA MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: TEKELEZA KATIBA
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.
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.
Social Justice Movement