The European Union has raised concern over the crackdown on non-governmental organisations perceived to be critical of the government.
In a statement, the EU Election Observation Mission criticised the deregistration of the Kenya Human Right Commission (KHRC) by the NGO s Coordination Board and the orders to close down the offices of the Africa Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and called on the government to accord the civil society space and security within which to operate.
The EU at the same time hailed the intervention of acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i directing the board to suspend the crackdown on the two organisations pending further investigations.
“We welcome the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior to reverse the NGO Coordination Board decisions regarding KHRC and AfriCOG. We call on the Kenyan authorities to give civil society the space and security to work towards greater democracy for Kenyans,” the statement read.
The EU spoke in the wake of the de-registration of KHRC and early morning raid on AfriCOG offices in Lavington by officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The officials were however denied entry after it was suspected that the court order they had produced was illegal.
AfriCOG lawyer Harun Ndubi alleged that the officials who were accompanied by police officers had a fake or carelessly done affidavit.
The NGOs Coordination Board deregistered the KHRC on Monday and circulated a notification letter the commission says it has only read on social and mainstream media.
On Tuesday, the Board’s CEO Fazul Mohamed wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to shut down AfriCOG and arrest the directors for allegedly operating illegally.
Mr Mahamed, in the letter addressed to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Ndegwa Muhoro, alleged that AfriCOG “is not registered under the NGOs Coordination Act 1990 as required by law.”
Come Wednesday and Dr Matiang’i intervened, directing Interior Principal Secretary to “immediately form an inclusive and representative committee to work with the board to review the compliance status of the two organisations”.
In a letter to Mr Mahamed, the CS said he had reviewed his correspondence with the NGOs.
“While the correspondence contains weighty legal non-compliance and regulatory issues on the said organisations, my view is that before conclusive and final action such as deregistration, comprehensive and exhaustive engagements have to happen,” said Dr Matiang’i.
The EU also called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to publish all forms 34B from the 290 constituency tallying centre on its online platform promptly to boost public confidence in the electoral process.
“Online availability of the 34B forms, as well as the remaining 34A forms (containing individual polling station results), would enable all stakeholders to examine the accuracy of the announced results and point to any possible anomalies. Provision of information and statistics would also help promote confidence through transparency,” read the statement.
The EU further expressed concern at the recent crackdown on protestors following the declaration of the results of the presidential election which has been rejected by National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
“EOM is deeply disturbed by the violence and deaths that have taken place. It calls on the state authorities to police effectively and to bring order without increasing tensions or using live fire. The EU EOM calls for state security agencies to be transparent in explaining their approach to security, to provide the public with reliable information about fatalities and injuries, and to undertake investigations for full accountability of state and other actors,” the EU demanded.
Officers denied entry to NGO’s offices in Lavington.