COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli. Photo/the-star.co.ke
The alleged crackdown on a section of Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs that are perceived to be critical of the government by the NGO Coordinating Board is retrogressive and aimed at reversing the democratic gains that Kenya has made since the promulgation of our Constitution of 2010.
As a people, Kenyans should be allowed to express themselves freely and their views on national topical issues should not be construed to be an attack on the government and the behaviour of the NGO Coordinating Board attests to an organisation hell-bent on oppressing this important Constitutional right and cast aspersions on the commitment by the government to live up to the letter and spirit of this Constitution.
The reasons given by the NGO Board to deregister the three Key Empowerment Foundation, Kenya Human Rights Commission as well as AfriCOG are totally unacceptable and unjustifiable to warrant their deregistration and remains a key threat to our freedom of speech and expression as cited in our Constitution and equally sad that whereas Kenyans have moved out of such dictatorial control by some agents of government, they seem to be slowly going up which is absolutely regrettable.
Kenyans desire to live and express themselves boldly and freely without any form of harassment nor intimidation from any individuals or on institutions that they lead and the latest development by the NGO Board is a cowardly move that has no place in a modern Kenya.
It is absurd that important institutions that have and continue to play an important role in Kenya’s democratization process like the Civil Society could today be subjects of ridicule, harassment and intimidation by entities themselves beneficiaries of these struggles like the NGO Coordinating Board.
As the umbrella workers’ body in the country, COTU (K) remains concern and disturbed by this rogue behavior being exhibited by the NGO Coordinating Board and its Executive Director since we don’t know which organization will now be next and this smear provocative campaign against legally registered NGOs should be stopped or made to stop forthwith.
However, as Kenyans we have no doubt that we have a modern President Uhuru Kenyatta whose oath of Office cannot allows any such busy bodies to act in contravention of our Constitution and COTU (K) now calls upon him not to allow such retrogressive acts to take place under his leadership as the country’s Chief Executive.