Activist Omtatah seeks to stop shutting down of lobby

An activist has moved to court to challenge the government’s decision to shut down offices of the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO).

In a suit filed against the NGOs Coordination Board and its executive director, Mr Fazul Mahamed, Mr Okiya Omtatah said the decision was reached without evidence to support allegations against the lobby.

In his case documents, Mr Omtatah said the sued parties falsely accused the lobby of revoking the host country’s agreement with the Foreign Affairs ministry.

He argued that the allegation was illogical since charitable organisations did not have to register as NGOs but can be registered as foundations, societies, trusts and companies limited by guarantee under the Kenyan law.

“IDLO is an intergovernmental organisation governed by treaties; it is not an NGO under the supervision of the sued parties. The purported grounds for his actions have absolutely no basis in law,” Mr Omtatah said.

The activist said the lobby had been operating in the country for close to 10 years and had supported programmes as well as projects in the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament, hence the move should be declared invalid.

He has accused the board as well as Mr Mahamed of lacking competence to shut down IDLO and termed the act a misuse of office to disparage and destroy the lobby.

Mr Omtatah wants the court to quash the October 5 directive that seeks to stop IDLO’s operations.

Kenya became a member of IDLO in 2009.

It is then that the organisation began providing technical assistance to the Committee of Experts tasked with development of the Constitution.

Offices of the Deputy President, Attorney-General, National Gender and Equality Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, as well as the National Council for Administration of Justice have also benefited from IDLO.

Others are the ministries of Mining, Treasury, Devolution, Public Service, Youth and Environment, the Kenya Law Reform Commission and the Council of Governors.

On October 5, Mr Mahamed wrote to the lobby asking it to immediately suspend its operations and programmes in the country.

He had also asked Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge and the director of the Financial Reporting Centre to freeze its bank accounts.


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