Kenya has a large and diverse civil society, and the rights to freedom of association, expression, and peaceful assembly are guaranteed under Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. However, these rights are only partially respected in practice. Peaceful assemblies- and especially those organised by opposition political parties- are routinely met with excessive, and occasionally lethal, force by state security officers. In spite of recent progressive legislative moves to operationalise the ‘Public Benefit Organisations’ Act, human rights NGOs are routinely subject to public vilification, harassment, and attempts to undermine their operations. Journalists and human rights defenders reporting on sensitive topics (including counter-terrorism, corruption, and accountability for the 2007/8 post-election violence) have been subject to harassment, intimidation, prosecution and extra-judicial killings.
Civic Space Developments