Report: President Kenyatta has turned to the military in the face of increasing domestic threats

President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Commander-in-Chief, dressed in military fatigue, when he met KDF solders in Somalia. PHOTO/PSCU
A report by the International Federation for Human Rights ( FIDH) and Kenya Human Rights Commission KHRC says that President Kenyatta has turned to the military in the face of increasing domestic threats.
The report says as the 2017 elections draw closer, concern has emerged that there is decreased military oversight with a view to using the military during any political unrest the elections may cause.

“Police reforms have seemingly stalled and President Kenyatta has turned to the military in the face of increasing domestic threats within Kenya,” the report warns.

The full report: Click here to download.
The report also says that improving scrutiny of police operations and fighting against impunity are key for Kenya’s stability.
The FIDH and KHRC report adds it is vital that Kenya continues to strengthen its reforms in the security and judiciary sectors.
The report entitled Kenya’s Scorecard on Security and Justice : Broken Promises and Unfinished business, report provides a mixed assessment of the reforms launched after the 2007 / 2008 post-election violence (PEV).

“As the world awaits to see how the upcoming elections will unfold, it is essential to remember that improving scrutiny of police operations and fighting against impunity are the basis for avoiding history repeating itself in Kenya,” the report says.

The report aims to offer an assessment of the Jubilee Administration’s term in office in the past four years and five months and specifically its performance with regards to the human rights agenda in the security and justice sectors.

President Kenyatta when he visited the Dhobley Military Camp the headquarters of the AMISOM, a and a log base for the UN. PHOTO/PSCU
It says that in the aftermath of the PEV, the deficiencies within the security and justice sectors were singled out as being part of the root causes of the violence.
“This compelled Kenyan authorities to initiate legal  and institutional reforms within both sectors in order to prevent further violence. The new Constitution adopted in 2010 underpins the basis upon which such reforms have been initiated,” it adds.
The report says while there have been some positive legislative developments by Parliament, the Executive arm of  government has both under-performed and in some instances deliberately undermined the advancement, realization and enjoyment of human rights.
“Accountability and reparations for human rights violations and abuses has also not been realised to a generalised climate of impunity,” it notes.
With respect to the security sector, the report shows that although oversight for the police has grown over the years since the 2007 elections, it is apparent that some within the current government are attempting to undo these advances, which raises serious concerns in the perspective of the forthcoming General Election.

“A particular source of concern lies with the existence of “rogue security enforcement officers” in at least 26 counties out of the 47 counties in Kenya, who often work along with criminals, including in Nairobi, Kirinyaga, Lamu, Mombasa, Kisii, Bungoma and others,” the report observes.

It adds these associations and operations no doubt  counter efforts aimed at ensuring the security of the population.

President Kenyatta comes out of a bunker at the KDF base in Somalia. PHOTO/PSCU
The report adds that the existence of militia groups and gangs not only contributes to insecurity but inhibits security operations and undoubtedly contributes to the violation of human rights and freedoms.

“These revelations make it all the more necessary to tighten the accountability measures against police excesses and actions,” the rights bodies say.

The report shows how the Jubilee Administration has on several occasions fought against accountability measures related to the PEV as well as those related to more recent grievous violations by the security sector.
It shows how organizations seen to be in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as accountability and good governance broadly found themselves on the receiving end of the Jubilee Administration, immediately upon its inauguration.
The report also highlights how the Government engaged in political, legal and social strategies to discredit, harass and intimidate human rights organizations.
“The most notable of these efforts has been the failure to operationalize the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act despite a Court order instructing the same,” it adds.
The report says instead, the government has sought to introduce retrogressive amendments to the law which such as the introduction of legal restrictions to the funding and operations of civil society organizations.
The report makes recommendations targeted towards specific institutions and government agencies and aims to set the reform agenda for the next administration.

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