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Crackdown on NGOs chilling, dangerous – ICPC

The crackdown on NGOs is chilling and sets a dangerous precedent, ICPC has said following the raid at AfriCOG’s Lavington premises.

Police and KRA officials went to the location following a letter by the NGOs Coordination Board for the organisation to be shut down on claims of illegal operations.

More on this: Police, KRA raid AfriCOG offices after Fazul’s shutdown threat

“We affirm our solidarity with colleagues who have been directly affected by the recent developments. This is authoritarian political repression,” the International Center for Policy and Conflict said in a statement on Wednesday.

Executive director Ndung’u Wainaina noted attacks on civil society are not only unconstitutional but also declarations of ferocious political warfare against freedom of expression, dissent and political rights.

“This is profoundly unfortunate and is the last stage in an elaborate strategy of trying to render the poor, and their grievances, invisible.”

Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i ordered the board, whose executive director is Fazul Mahamed, to suspend for 90 days the de-registration of AfriCOG and Kenya Human Rights Commission.

He said the non-compliance claims raised against them must be investigated before action is taken.

Read: Matiang’i suspends NGOs purge for 90 days pending review

ICPC also expressed concern over the manner in which security officers have been dealing with protesters dissatisfied with the elections outcome.

Wainaina said it was unjustified for police to deter and disperse peaceful demonstrations and arrest protesters.

“Such actions are clearly inconsistent with Kenya’s constitution, and obligation under international human rights law, to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”

Civil society groups have seen the purge as retaliatory action since they have raised concerns over the general election that was a hot contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga.

In 2013, AfriCOG attempted to compel the electoral commission to produce its manual register over claims of irregularities.

The Supreme Court dismissed the oral application, by lawyer Kethi Kilonzo, in the case that challenged the declaration of Uhuru as president-elect after the March 4 vote.

Given the strict timeline to determine cases involving presidential elections, the judges noted parties ought to have been vigilant enough to file all their applications in good time.

The court also held that there was no proper application before it.

More on this: Supreme Court throws out AfriCOG’s petition

Also read: Extracts from AfriCOG petition

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