In Summary
  • KHRC chairman Makau Mutua said that they will be back in court over the decision to shut down KHRC, which he termed illegal.
  • Mr Fazul Mahamed instructed the directors of AfriCOG to cease operations with immediate effect until it acquires a certificate of registration.
  • High Court judge Joseph Onguto had, on April 29 last year, declared a similar attempt to deregister  KHRC unconstitutional.

Non-governmental organisations believe they were shut because they were preparing to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election in court.

Officials of Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), which was deregistered on Monday, said they had been holding consultations within the civil society to determine if to file a presidential petition by the Saturday deadline, which is set by law.

KHRC chairman Makau Mutua, while commenting on the petition, said he would not rule out anything.

“For now, we believe that they are going after us because they believe we have the wherewithal to challenge the (presidential) outcome,” said Professor Mutua from New York.

The don added that they will be back in court over the decision to shut down KHRC, which he termed illegal.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Formed in the early 1990s, KHRC is one of the leading indigenous human rights organisations in Africa with programmes covering nearly every aspect of life. One of its early executive directors, Dr Willy Mutunga, went on to serve as a respected Chief Justice.

Its board members are usually individuals of international renown in advocacy and scholarship.

Prof Mutua, the KHRC board chairman since 1992, is a distinguished law scholar at the State University of New York (SUNY) and, until recently, the dean of the Buffalo Law School at the reputed institution of higher learning. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on human rights.

On Tuesday, a KHRC official who asked no to be named said: “It (challenging President Kenyatta’s victory) is a discussion we have been having within civil society and we will take a position (on it). There will be a press conference tomorrow (Wednesday).”

On Monday, the NGOs Coordination Board deregistered KHRC and the State agency’s executive director, Mr Fazul Mahamed, circulated a letter the organisation said it only read on social and mainstream media.

OPERATING ILLEGALLY

And on Tuesday, Mr Mahamed wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) asking it to shut down the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and arrest the directors for allegedly operating illegally.

In the letter addressed to Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, Mr Mahamed alleged that AfriCOG “is not registered under the NGOs Coordination Act 1990 as required by law.

AfriCOG is and continues to operate as a charitable organisation in direct contravention of Section 22, which according to the Act is an offence punishable by law.”

He quoted Section 25 and Regulation 75 of the Act and the attendant regulation, which requires all organisations engaging in charitable activities to rescind their various registrations and obtain fresh registration.

“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to urge your office to move with speed to close down the operations of this organisation and further arrest the directors and members of AfriCOG for contravening the foregoing provision, and with a view to arraigning and prosecuting them in a competent court of law,” wrote Mr Mahamed.

The board’s boss further instructed the directors of AfriCOG to cease operations with immediate effect until it acquires a certificate of registration.

And, just like he did with the KHRC case, Mr Mahamed asked the Central Bank of Kenya to freeze all bank accounts belonging to AfriCOG.

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