Nairobi — KENYA has been urged to respect the rights of civil societies and stop interfering with their operations amid a disputed election.
The crackdown is seen as part of a wider repression of civil society in the East African country in recent years. This was after non-governmental organisations board cracked down on rights groups critical of the vote in which incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta was once again proclaimed the winner. He was elected ahead of opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who boycotted the poll.
"Instead of harassing these organizations, they should respect their rights and their role in meaningful dialogue " Abdullahi Abdi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) regional spokesperson, said. In recent days, the Kenya Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Board, the regulatory authority for nongovernmental groups, summoned three civil society organizations to respond to allegations of money laundering and employing foreigners without valid work permits, among other reasons. An election campaign initiative by a coalition of civil society groups and a citizen's alliance that focuses on good governance are also alleged to be operating illegal bank accounts and funding political operations in Kenya.
The charges are said to be trumped up as a campaign to silence critics of the repressive government.