Nairobi, Kenya— Busia Senator and comrade Okiya Omtatah has during the last 20 years faced many attacks for his strong opposition to the gross injustices the country is facing.

These strikes have escalated in recent months, culminating in the invasion of his rural home on April 3, 2024, at night. 

Omtatah is a spirited human rights and social justice defender. He is known for his staunch resistance to unconstitutional and anti-people decisions made by the deeply oppressive organs of the Kenyan State. They include but are not limited to the national and county governments and assemblies across regimes.

Most recently, he and others - including KHRC - contested the Housing Levy, which the court deemed unconstitutional, yet the Kenya Kwanza regime persists in enforcing it.

The first attack occurred on December 16, 2023, when William Ruto openly made what appeared to be a death threats against Omtatah and others opposing the Housing Levy. During a church event at Cardinal High School in Mosocho, Ruto suggested using the ceremonial sword handed to him during his swearing-in to deal with those opposing the levy.

Despite Omtatah's attempt to report the threat at Nyanchwa police station in Kisii, authorities turned him away.

On March 22, 2024, assailants accosted Omtatah outside a court in Busia, pelting him with stones as he departed. Though his vehicle sustained damage, Omtatah escaped unharmed.

In the latest incident on April 3, 2024, at night, assailants raided Omtatah's rural home, injuring his wife after they failed locate him.

All these systemic attacks present a worrying trend given our dark history where progressive political and civic actors, and activists have faced assassinations, among other repressive actions.

KHRC believes these attacks are undoubtedly linked to Omtatah's activism, which involves defending human rights, challenging illegal government directives, and advocating for accountability. It is evident that influential people within the Kenya Kwanza administration are displeased with Omtatah's powerful actions.

An assault on Omtatah is an attack on our democratic, and civil rights and freedoms. It threatens the environment in which we fought so hard to have and shape our nation's political, legislative, social, and economic landscape.

Those orchestrating these attacks, likely state operatives, aim to silence activists and deter opposition to the government. However, their actions only bolster our determination to hold this regime accountable.

We demand that the Inspector-General of Police, Japheth Koome, ensure Omtatah's safety and that of all activists in the country.