Issued by Transparency International Secretariat
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, and Transparency International Kenya condemn the intimidation and raids of civil society organisations in Kenya, including those fighting against corruption, and call on the government to protect – not harass – those organisations working to strengthen good governance in the country.
This week the government has sought to close two civil society organisations, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), on grounds that they are not properly registered.
“The constitution of Kenya guarantees freedom of association and the government cannot use illegal means to silence civil society. Civil society must be protected. These moves go against the spirit of the constitution and are not in the people’s interests,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
Since 2013, there have been attempts to include extremely restrictive provisions to the Public Benefits Organization Act although the law is not yet fully operational. These attempts, if successful, would constitute unjustified government control over non-governmental organisations.
“We call on the government to stop this harassment. If the government considers there are legitimate non-compliance issues, there are established ways of dealing with this without undermining the freedom of association enshrined in our constitution. We also call on the government to operationalise the Public Benefits Organization law as directed by the courts.
“It is only when civil society can operate independently that it can work on behalf of citizens and hold the government to account,” said Samuel Kimeu, Executive Director of Transparency International Kenya.
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