THE alleged crackdown on a section of non-governmental
organisations that are perceived to be critical of the government by the NGO
Coordinating Board is retrogressive and aimed at reversing the democratic gains
that Kenya has made since the promulgation of our Constitution in 2010.
As a people, Kenyans should be allowed to
express themselves freely and their views on national topical issues should not
be construed to be an attack on the government. The behaviour of the NGO
Coordinating Board attests to an organisation hell-bent on oppressing this
important constitutional right and cast aspersions on the commitment by the
government to live up to the letter and spirit of this Constitution.
The reasons given by the NGO Board to
deregister the three Key Empowerment Foundation, Kenya Human Rights Commission
as well as AfriCOG are totally unacceptable and unjustifiable to warrant their
deregistration and remains a key threat to our freedom of speech and expression
as cited in our Constitution. It is equally sad that whereas Kenyans have moved
out of such dictatorial control by some agents of government, they seem to be
slowly going up, which is absolutely regrettable.
Kenyans desire to live and express themselves
boldly and freely, without any form of harassment nor intimidation from
any individuals or on institutions that they lead and the latest development by
the NGO Board is a cowardly move that has no place in a modern Kenya.
It is absurd that important institutions that
have and continue to play an important role in Kenya’s democratization process
like Civil Society could today be subjects of ridicule, harassment and
intimidation by entities themselves beneficiaries of these struggles – like the
NGO Coordinating Board.
As the umbrella workers’ body in the country,
Cotu (K) remains concerned and disturbed by this rogue behavior being exhibited
by the NGO Coordinating Board and its Executive Director. Since we don’t know
which organization will now be next and this smear provocative campaign against
legally registered NGOs should be stopped – or made to stop forthwith.
However, as Kenyans we have no doubt that we
have a modern President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose oath of office cannot allow
any such busy busybodies to act in contravention of our Constitution and Cotu
(K) now calls upon him not to allow such retrogressive acts to take place under
his leadership as the country’s Chief Executive.
Atwoli is the Secretary General of Cotu