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Kenya

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Last updated on 10.05.2022 at 08:53

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CSOs condemn murder of LGBTIQ+ member, protesters beaten

CSOs condemn murder of LGBTIQ+ member, protesters beaten

Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) banned an Indian film for promoting same sex marriage, LGBTIQ+ member Sheila Adhiambo Lumumba found dead after brutal attack; striking inmates at the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi County were badly beaten by officers; Magistrates’ Court in Mombasa findsd six activists guilty of gathering illegally and failing to maintain physical distances in a public place during a demonstration; police officers arrest and beat human rights defender Julius Kamau, for protesting the high cost of living outside the Treasury building; Mombasa citizens held the “NjaaRevolution” (translated to ‘hunger revolution’), protesting the high cost of living;

Association

On 14th February 2022, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) banned an Indian film for ‘going against Kenya culture’. According to KFCB, the film titled Baadhi would remain restricted in the country for promoting same sex marriage, which they argued was against Kenya’s constitution. 

In a separate incident also touching on the LGBTIQ+ community, on 20th April 2022, LGBTIQ+ member Sheila Adhiambo Lumumba was found dead after failing to report to work. According to reports, a group of six unknown men reportedly attacked, raped, and killed Sheila. Human rights activists reported a pattern of attacks on the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community in Kenya.

Peaceful Assembly

In mid-January 2022, striking inmates at the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi County were badly beaten by officers after they held a protest over lack of food and restriction of movement in the facility. The protests erupted after the prison began rationing food to the inmates as a punitive measure after three terrorism convicts escaped from the facility, sparking public outrage. According to some of the inmates, they were going up to 24 hours without food, while some of them were placed in complete isolation. The prison’s boss refused the inmates’ request for a meeting and eventually some of the prisoners who participated in the protests were transferred to Naivasha Maximum Prison in Nakuru County.

On 4th February 2022, the Magistrates’ Court in Mombasa found six activists guilty of gathering illegally and failing to maintain physical distances in a public place during a demonstration where they were protesting against the misappropriation of COVID-19 funds and demanding the arrest of those responsible. The protests took place in different counties, including Nakuru, Kisumu and Nairobi. Authorities arrested the six activists on 25th August 2020 and charged them with violating provisions of the Public Health Rules 2020. Four of the activists were sentenced to 6 months’ probation, while warrants of arrest were issued against the other two after they failed to appear in court.

On 7th April 2022, police officers arrested and beat human rights defender Julius Kamau, for protesting the high cost of living outside the Treasury building. Kamau stood holding a banner reading “lower food prices”, as part of the “NjaaRevolution” protests that began online. Kenyan citizens have been demonstrating the high cost of living using the hashtag #NjaaRevolution. Police officers arrested Kamau for allegedly creating a disturbance. On 8th April 2022, the Defenders coalition called for his immediate release and condemned the violence. Similarly, four other protestors, namely Minoo Kya, Clinton Ojiambo, Nahashon Macharia, and Anthony Kanyiri, were arrested on 9th April 2022 for protesting the high cost of living. The protestors were detained at Mwiki police station.

in a related protest, on 19th April 2022, Mombasa citizens held the “NjaaRevolution” (translated to ‘hunger revolution’), protesting the high cost of living. Protestors demanded the government to suspend Value-added tax (VAT) and Pay as you earn (PAYE). Police officers dispersed the peaceful protests and used batons to scare the protestors.

On 23rd April 2022, the Wiper party held its primary elections for the Member of County Assembly (MCA) seats in Athi River, Machakos county. Residents protested the results claiming they were rigged. Protestors gathered outside the polling station, and some threw stones at the police officers after they were denied access to the tallying station and blocked the road. Police officers used tear gas to disperse the protests. 

Association

Kenya’s constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association. In practice, the right is only partially respected. Unregistered societies are not legally permissible and the government has wide discretion in placing conditions upon NGO’s activities.

Kenya’s constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association. In practice, the right is only partially respected. Unregistered societies are not legally permissible and the government has wide discretion in placing conditions upon NGO’s activities. Human rights groups- including- especially those working on issues relating to police accountability- are routinely harassed and intimidated by state officials. In April 2015, two highly respected human rights NGOs, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa were publicly alleged to have links to terrorist groups. They had their assets frozen and their offices raided, and were only able to resume full operations after more than six months in response to a court order.

Peaceful Assembly

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed under Kenya’s 2010 constitution. In practice, this right is routinely undermined by the state, and its security forces.

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed under Kenya’s 2010 constitution. In practice, this right is routinely undermined by the state, and its security forces. The law specifies no time limit for state authorities to respond to organisers' notification requests, and counter-demonstrations are prohibited. There is a consistent and long-term pattern of Kenyan security forces using unlawful, excessive, and occasionally lethal force in the management of public assemblies. In June 2016, police used excessive force against protestors calling for reform to Kenya’s electoral management body, the IEBC in which four people we killed.

Expression

Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Kenyan constitution, and the country has a diverse and vocal media environment. However, a number of laws have been recently passed, which pose a threat to freedom of information, and the public’s right to access information.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Kenyan constitution, and the country has a diverse and vocal media environment. However, a number of laws have been recently passed, which pose a threat to freedom of information, and the public’s right to access information. The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill, passed in October 2015, potentially criminalises investigative reporting on matters of public importance including bribery and corruption scandals. Journalists engaged in reporting on ‘sensitive’ topics, including security and counter-terrorism issues, have been arrested, questioned, and detained, including for sharing information via social media platforms. Human rights defenders have also been arrested and charged, on politically motivated grounds. Human rights lawyer Willie Kimani was murdered in July 2016, along with his client and taxi driver, after filing a criminal corruption complaint against a police officer. Four police officers were subsequently arrested and charged with three counts of murder.