May 22, 2018

Matiang’i orders NGO Board to cease attacks on KHRC, AfriCOG for 90 days pending review

Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang'i. []

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has ordered the NGO Coordination Board to cease attacks on two NGO’s for the next 90 days.

His directive came on Wednesday after a raid on AfriCOG’s offices by KRA officials following orders by the Board’s executive director Mohammed Fazul on Tuesday.

He had asked the DCI to arrest AfriCOG directors and have the NGO’s accounts frozen by Central Bank of Kenya.

Fazul on Monday also de-registered the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) associated with US based law Scholar Prof Makau Mutua.

In a letter to Fazul, Matiang’i said no action should be taken against the two organizations before scrutinizing the two organizations’ compliance status.

He directed Interior PS Karanja Kibicho to constitute an all-inclusive committee with representatives from the Ministry and the NGO Board and review the compliance status of the two NGOs.

“This would include an opportunity for the organizations and any concerned stakeholders to engage with the board and effectively address any outstanding non-compliance issues that may have led to the de-registration of the two organizations,” read part of the letter as quoted by the Star.

The purge on the two NGOs has elicited harsh reactions from a section of stakeholders in civil society and politicians too.

South Mugirango MP-elect Sylvanus Osoro said Fazul is being used by government forces to shutdown the NGO.

The UN and Amnesty International on Tuesday condemned Fazul’s action.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said “civil society actors and media to be allowed to work without hindrance or fear of retaliation.”

Amnesty International described the Board’s actions as “grotesque”.

“This is an unlawful and irresponsible move in this critical post-election period,” Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s deputy director for East Africa, the Horn and Great Lakes.

By Pharis Kinyua, an online journalist, and author at jamhuri News