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Tame the impunity that runs deep among the State officials

You know a country is heading the wrong direction when those with power break laws openly and with impunity.

That this impunity is supported by local and international actors does not make it any less worrying or dangerous.

First there is the blatant disregard of court decisions by the chief executive of an obsolete and illegal body called the NGO Coordination Board.

There is a court decision preventing interference with the Kenya Human Rights Commission — which I started in 1992 — and on whose board I serve pro-bono, but he persists nevertheless.

He simply cut and paste previous allegations from 2015 which were dealt with comprehensively.

That is what impunity looks like. And we should not be surprised because this chief executive has so much protection that an order by Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to sack him was reversed and the department moved to Internal Security ministry! It is clear that he is merely the barking dog for his masters who are more powerful than the powerful CS Kiunjuri!

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

The same chief executive then attempts to crush AfriCOG, again on whose board I serve pro-bono, knowing that his illegal department never has, and never will, have regulatory authority over a company limited by guarantee.

That is impunity, and the fact that he can instruct the KRA and police to raid AfriCOG, speaks volumes. 

Incidentally, the fake warrant that the KRA presented covered the carting away of everything from AfriCOG but for the furniture and walls! This was not about taxes.

This was about making sure AfriCOG could not file a petition in the Supreme Court, even as the regime was telling everyone to go to Supreme Court. Again, that speaks volumes.

Amidst all this, CS Fred Matiang’i, seeing the national and international embarrassment brought on by the man, sets up a committee to “resolve” these matters as a sign of his good faith.

If forming an inquisitional committee, rehashing some of the same illegal things from the chief executive, and packed with regime officials — including the man — is a sign of CS Matiang’i’s good faith, then we are in deep trouble!

IMPUNITY

This simply attempts to legitimise impunity. What CS Matiang’i should do is gazette the PBO Act as ordered by the Court, fire the chief executive, and have him charged with abuse of office and being in office fraudulently. It is that simple.

Second, we have pro-regime stalwarts — international and national — parroting that this election was the “best ever” in Kenya. Sorry, how can the persistent breaking of laws by the IEBC be acceptable and good?

How can an election preceded by the assassination of perhaps the one person determined to follow the law be good? Heck! That never happened in 2007 or 2013!

One can support the IEBC and Jubilee, but encouraging impunity is a step too far.

It is fascinating to see some in the international community bend over backwards to defend the IEBC simply because it achieved the result they wanted, even as they pretend to care about accountability, civil society and human rights.

Yet we should not be surprised given how John Kerry and the US government have handled the Sisi regime in Egypt; calling it a democracy and praising it for supporting human rights!

IEBC

The Court of Appeal lambasted the IEBC for attempted subversion of justice when it purported to go subvert the High Court’s decision on the finality of results at the polling station and constituency level by gazetting new regulations that returned the old impugned regulations.

There was not a peep from IEBC and Jubilee supporters on this obvious breach of the law, and of course, nothing from the Director of Public Prosecutions charging the IEBC Commissioners and CEO for subversion of justice and contempt of court given the Court of Appeal’s evidence. 

Similarly, how can we laud the IEBC when it flagrantly disobeyed the Constitution by declaring results before they were finalised at the Constituency as required by the Court of Appeal? Why was it so difficult to wait for all 290 Forms?

With this impunity at a time of deep divisions and tensions, should we be surprised if some decide that Jubilee and IEBC can keep their country of impunity as they seek other options?

 Maina Kiai is a human rights activist and co-director at InformAction. [email protected]

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