This was followed by undue intimidation and interrogation of the staff and board members of the said organizations as well as the confiscation of their crucial records, data and information by officers drawn from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) under the guise of tax evasion. The affected and targeted organizations have continued to cooperate with the relevant state authorities while seeking redress from courts. They seek conservatory orders lifting the suspension of their bank accounts and restraining the government from declaring them as ‘terror organizations’ until the hearing and determination of this petition.

Despite this cooperation, Yusuf Mahamad Fazul, the Executive Director of the NGOs Coordination Board wrote to the said organizations on May 12, 2015, giving them 14 days’ notice of intention to cancel their registration certificates on the alleged grounds of violating the provisions of the NGO Cordination Act of 1990, the attendant regulations and the terms and conditions attached to the certificate of registration.

MUHURI wrote back on May 15, 2015 requesting for details on the areas and provisions of the law and regulations violated. Seeing no response from the Board, MUHURI dispatched a follow-up letter to the Board on Monday, May 25, 2015. Owing to the non-response by the NGO Board, MUHURI came to Nairobi on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 when they met with the NGO Board. Here the Director to the Board clarified the areas alleged violated and requested MUHURI to have the same rectified, minuted and come for another meeting two days later (on Friday, May 29, 2015).

Thus it is shocking to learn from the media about the purported devious deregistration of the targeted organizations. Such tactics expose a state that is operating in bad faith and driven by the unbridled quest to curtail the operations of civil society organizations under the guise of accountability. It further shows a repugnant trend of abuse of authority of the NGO Board, CID, KRA and other apparatus to intimidate the operations of MUHURI and APD among other civil society organizations2 without due regards to the existing constitutional, legal, administrative and judicial process.

These actions are ill advised and in clear contravention of various Constitutional provisions, chief among them the right to fair administrative action enshrined under Article 47. The action to allegedly deregister the organizations is unlawful and unreasonable. 2

Consequently, we urge the NGO Board and the Presidency to:

  1. Issue an urgent official response by the NGO Board, explaining the reasons and circumstances under which MUHURI and APD were de-registered without regards to due processes.
  2. Provide an immediate public apology from the Board owing to the inconveniences and embarrassment suffered by the three organizations arising from its irregular and illegal actions.
  3. Provide a written and concise response to the letters by the three organizations on the clarification sought.
  4. Undertake unconditional and immediate removal of said organizations from the terrorism list published via Gazette Notice 2326 of 7th April 2015, lift any and all freezing of their activities and services.
  5. Stop arm-twisting, harassing and intimidating the civil society, development partners, media, citizenry and other independent voices and instead purpose to manage public affairs within the provisions of the Constitution in the governance of state affairs.
  6. Convene a consultative meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the ever increasing tension between the state and civil society and agree on the best way of responding to the security challenges facing our country.

The civil society is keen to participate in the fight against terrorism within the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya. The current attempt by the government to create a dichotomy between national security verses human rights is unacceptable and unsustainable since security is equally a fundamental right and freedom for all.

Signed by:

Prof. Makau Mutua, on behalf of the KHRC Board,

Davis Malombe, Ag, Executive Director.