IDLO yet to receive shutdown orders

An international organisation whose activities in Kenya were said to have been stopped by the government is yet to receive the letters from the Foreign Affairs ministry and the NGO Coordination Board that have been circulating on social media for the last one week.

In the meantime, the government stands to lose some Sh1.5 billion in funding from the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) to various programmes this financial year if its local offices are shut down.

Since the Supreme Court nullified the presidential election, IDLO has been a major talking point with Jubilee which was displeased with the outcome claiming the organisation was behind the “wakora (crooks) network” consisting of civil society activists and judges of the apex court that allegedly influenced the court’s decision.

Apart from the profiling, two letters – one purportedly authored by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed cancelling the Host Country Agreement with IDLO and another by the NGO Coordination Board freezing IDLO’s bank accounts and suspending their operations in Kenya – have been doing rounds.

OPERATING NORMALLY

However, in an interview, Director of External Relations Judit Arenas who is based at IDLO’s headquarters in Rome, Italy, said they had not received any of the purported letters and they were operating normally.

“We have seen an unsigned letter from the Foreign Affairs ministry circulating on social media about the purported suspension of the agreement between IDLO and the Kenyan government. IDLO has not received this letter,” Ms Arenas told theNation.

“We have also seen floating on social media a letter from the NGO Coordination Board but no such letter has been received by us. Furthermore, as an intergovernmental organisation our counterparts in the government of Kenya are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Office, not the board,” she added.

Neither Ms Amina nor Attorney-General Githu Muigai was available for comment on the letters which have been circulating but an officer in the State Law Office, who did not wish to be named, said any questions should be directed to the Foreign Affairs ministry. On the other hand, the ministry referred the Nation to the NGO Coordination Board.

SUPPORT

But IDLO is categorical that if the threats to shut down their operations in Kenya were to pass, “IDLO would be unable to continue to provide support to the ministries and government agencies it currently partners with”. “We believe the government and Kenyans would be deprived of much-needed technical legal assistance to implement the Constitution and support numerous State institutions,” said Ms Arenas.

IDLO, she said, is currently implementing seven projects in Kenya worth a total of Sh1.5 billion.

The projects the organisation is currently engaged in are Supporting the Kenya Constitutional Implementation Process whose contract value is Sh538.4 million, Development Engagement which consist of Support to Human Rights, Access to Justice and Equality at Sh415.8 million, Justice Sector Reforms to Enhance Access to Justice at Sh144.4 million and Advancing Legal Approaches to Biodiversity Mainstreaming at Sh14.3 million.

Other projects are Strengthening Capacity of the Kenyan Judiciary for Efficient Electoral Disputes Resolution in 2017 General Election at Sh63.9 million, Supporting Commercial Justice Sector Reforms at Sh322.9 million and Strengthening Capacity of the Kenyan Judiciary for Efficient Electoral Dispute Resolution at Sh22.6 million.

IMPLEMENTED ACROSS

The projects are being implemented almost across the entire government including the offices of the Deputy President and the Attorney-General and Department of Justice, Judiciary, Parliament, several ministries, Kenya Law Reform Commission, National Gender and Equality Commission, and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

Others are: County governments, the County Attorneys Forum and the County Assemblies Forum, and Kenya School of Government among others.

IDLO, however, denied allegations that they may have played a role in the nullification of the presidential election.

“These allegations are completely without merit and distorts what IDLO has been doing. IDLO, and its employees and experts, have played no role in any way in any decisions taken by the Judiciary on any matter, including the decision relating to the annulment of the election,” said Ms Arenas.

INTERNATIONAL TREATY

According to her, IDLO’s international treaty that also governs it, prohibits the organisation from being influenced by political considerations.

“There has been misreporting in social media about the governance of IDLO. IDLO is an intergovernmental organisation made up of 30 States, including Kenya, from all regions of the world and one multilateral organisation. They are responsible for governing the organisation, overseeing its management and approving its policies, plans and budget. The Director-General reports directly to them,” said Ms Arenas.

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