We, the Human Rights Campaigners gathered here today, note with concern the cases of runaway insecurity in the country and the lackluster approach adopted by the country’s security organs in handling the situation. Article 238 of the Supreme Law obligates the Inspector General of Police and other relevant national organs to promote and guarantee national security of Kenyans subject to the Constitution, in compliance with the law and with utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

When Kenyans voted for a new constitutional order in August 2010, they did so with the hope that they were bequeathing unto themselves, a new governance contract anchored on a firm and solid foundation that would ensure that all Kenyans are in a position, and to the fullest extent possible, to enjoy all the socio-economic and political rights espoused in the COK 2010.  In terms of security, the COK 2010 is clear on the constitutional security guarantees for Kenyans, and indeed everybody else within our jurisdiction. At Article 29, the Constitution says, and I quote: “Every person has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be: c) subjected to any form of violence form either public or private sources”. Similarly, at Article 26, the Constitution is crystal clear that, and I quote, “Every person has the right to life”. Our Constitution also provides a framework of the key institutions and actors who have been given the constitutional mandate of ensuring that we are all safe and secure. These are clearly spelt out in Chapter fourteen.

However, despite the foregoing, we are alarmed at the recent levels of runaway insecurity experienced in the country. From the wanton killings of innocent Kenyans by an assortment of marauding gangsto the loss of lives in internecine inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts—sponsored by politicians and ethnic warlords—spreading from Moyale to Isiolo, Pokot, Turkana, Baragoi, and Bungoma to name just but a few places; to the numerous occurrences of car-jackings and robberies in Kenya’s urban centres; to the continued commercialization of cattle-rustling with its dire consequences amongst the pastoralist communities and their neighbours; to the illegal actions of extra-judicial executions carried out by the police under the ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders in the name of fighting crime and insecurity; to the now common incidents of terrorist-related killings with the worst being the West-Gate Mall siege; to the acts of sexual and gender-based violence meted out, mostly on women and young girls, by repugnant sexual predators; it looks like, unless urgent and concerted measures are taken by both state and non-state actors to stem the tide of rising insecurity in the country, we are fast sliding down a dangerous precipice of utter lawlessness.  The summary that has been presented to you in the power-point succinctly captures the overall state of insecurity in our country.

We want to reiterate the fact that the ongoing state of insecurity in the country is simply untenable. And, on that note, we call upon President Kenyatta and the Senior Security officials in the government to ensure that Kenyans are safe and secure in line with the COK 2010. We think it is in order to echo Mr. Kenyatta’s commitment and pledge to Kenyans during his inauguration speech where he stated that his government will strive for a safe and secure country, and we quote his speech of 9th April, 2013 which read in part, “Criminals, cattle rustlers, drug barons and agents of terror who disrupt the peace of our society will be met with the full force of the law and the strength of Kenya’s Security Forces. On this matter, we are resolute to our men and women in uniform, I say, this nation is indebted to you. You continue to lay down your lives in service, protecting Kenyans from threats both external and internal. My government will continue to work with you and do all that is in its power to support you as you continue in your noble duty…”

The President must now start walking the talk. The buck stops with the President when it comes to the security and safety of our country. We want our country’s safety and security back! We view the ongoing lapses in security as a manifestation of bad governance—NOT AS A CRISIS OF GOVERNANCE—that must not be allowed to continue. We also hope that the on-going police vetting exercise will help us establish a professional police service that will ensure the safety and security of all Kenyans in line with the law. We therefore expect that the exercise will not be a mere smokescreen but rather a national exercise aimed at giving us a first class police service.   As Kenyans get ready to embark on the celebrations to mark this festive season, we hope that the government will do all it can within its capacity to ensure their safety and security.