INSPECTOR GENERAL AND OTHER SECURITY ORGANS: STOP ARBITRARY DIRECTIVES AND EMBRACE ACCOUNTABLE POLICING WITHIN THE NEW CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER
The Kenya Human Rights Commission wishes to strongly condemn the IGPs’ illegal directive of arrest of some media personnel for executing their societal duty of sharing information to the public. It is our submission that the media acted within its constitutional rights which are entrenched under Articles 33, 34 and 35 thus providing the requisite safeguards on the freedom of expression, freedom of the media and right to information, respectively among others.
Moreover, we wish to bring to your attention that Article 238 of the Supreme Law obligates you and other relevant national organs to promote and guarantee national security of Kenya subject to the Constitution, in compliance with the law and with utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Of course
In addition to this, we affirm that Article 10 on the National Values and Principles of Governance expects you to foster the same tenets plus good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability in making and implementing public policy decisions-including all the security operations.
It is on this basis that the Commission takes great exception in the manner in which the IGP has in the recent days issued arbitrary directives and indecorous warnings that are tantamount to stifling the said hard-earned civil and political rights. It is our considered opinion that this is part of the new and immoral schemes by your office, other state apparatus and merchants of impunity to muzzle our democratic space; undermine social accountability (over the many bungled security operations) and entrench political repression in the society.
While we appreciate the great efforts and sacrifice by our security apparatus to protect the country against internal and external threats, we wish to remind the IG and other members of the National Security Council that that as a state officer, he took an oath to obey, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Kenya in the management of the affairs of the state.
In the same vein, the KHRC greatly appreciates and recognizes the role played by other stakeholders to deal with the various insecurity crises and we particularly commend members of the fourth estate for their immense contribution towards enhancing the right to access to information by giving factual and timely information regarding many issues affecting Kenyans, with the most recent exposure of the Kenya state security agencies response to the Westgate attacks and other security issues and operations in the country and beyond. We further recall that the president of the republic of Kenya once quoted as saying that “free media is the heart of democracy”
We wish to remind the IGP that it is through this great work by the media that Kenyans have been constantly informed about the escalating incidences of insecurity in the country particularly in the past ten months where over 200 innocent civilian and as well as dedicated security personnel, have lost their lives through preventable acts of criminality in situations of terrorist attacks as experienced in Garissa, Mandera and Nairobi (Westgate attack), organised illegal gang attacks in Bungoma and Busia, cattle rustling in Baragoi, Kuria, Pokot and Baringo counties, clan clashes in Moyale and Mandera and robberies. These incidences are reminiscent of the insecurity incidences we experienced last year most notably in Baragoi and Tana River. His incidences have further resulted in physical and psychological trauma of hundreds, thousands displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed or stolen.
These events evidently expose the existence of fundamental governance and structural deficiencies within the state security architecture which must be given the due attention it deserves and conclusively addressed.
The KHRC therefore calls upon:
- The IG to unequivocally retract and apologize to the media and the country at large for the arbitrary and unconstitutional directives.
- The state security apparatus to have a candid reflection on the gains and pitfalls of the Westgate and other security operations and formulate strategies that responds to both the roots causes and manifestations of insecurity in Kenya and within the established Constitutional principles and threshold.
- The IGP to explore and exploit laid down procedures, if aggrieved by the conduct of some of the media personalities, to engage with the Media Council of Kenya to address his concerns. The IGP should note that Kenyans do not want to see a return to the dark repressive days.
- The IGP to stop acting as the mouthpiece of the KDF and instead reflect upon reforming the NPS to strengthen its operations to prevent and effectively respond to incidences of internal insecurity. The IGP should focus on policing within the COK framework and overall goal of making Kenya a safe place for all citizens and non-citizens in Kenya.
- The President of the republic of Kenya together with the National Security Council, the leadership of the National security organs, other bodies and personalities charged with the security of this nation to critically examine the state security architecture and make hard and strategic decision for the sake the safety of Kenyans.
The KHRC wishes to remind the President of Kenya of his pledge to Kenya in his inaugural speech on 9th April, 2013 which reads 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…”
We cannot underscore enough the fact that the government holds the primary obligation of ensuring safety and security of all citizens and others living in country. This responsibility must however be executed within the confines of the rule of law and protection and promotion of all rights of all people and groups. This is a key element throughout the COK and emphasized further in article 238 of the COK.
The KHRC finally calls on all the citizens and non-citizens of Kenya to uphold the sanctity and dignity of human life and as such take responsibility of their individual security as well as promote the security of fellow human beings.
The KHRC is an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded in 1991 and registered in Kenya in 1994. Throughout its existence, the core agenda of the Commission has been campaigning for the entrenchment of a human rights and democratic culture in Kenya. We envision a human rights state and society predicated on our mission of fostering human rights, democratic values, human dignity and social justice.
Deputy Executive Director