We are above board, say Muhuri and Haki Afrika

What you need to know:

  • Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule said that its representatives had held “a very fruitful meeting” the whole day Wednesday with the board during which they were told to rectify a few areas they had gone wrong.
  • Mr Khalif claimed that linking the human rights groups to terrorism was a government ploy to cover up the disappearances, kidnappings and extrajudicial killings that they had documented.

Haki Afrika and Muslims for Human Rights onThursday expressed surprise at the decision by the NGOs Coordination Board to deregister them and cancel their licences.

Representatives of the two organisations said they learnt about the ban from media reports, and that the decision came “as a total shock” to them.
They also denied any links with Al-Shabaab or any other terrorist group.

In an exclusive report published by the Nation yesterday, the NGOs Coordination Board accused the two human rights groups of supporting terrorist activities, operating without a permit and under-reporting the amounts they received from donors. A third NGO, the Agency for Peace and Development, was also banned.

Addressing the media in two separate news conferences in their respective offices, Haki Afrika Executive Director Hussein Khalid and Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) chairman Khelef Khalifa described the move as illegal, uncalled for and in bad faith. They accused the NGOs Coordination Board of dishonesty and lacking transparency in its operations.

Mr Khalifa said the ban amounted to harassment and was a government’s ploy to muzzle civil society organisations that have opposed atrocities against citizens.

Mr Khalid said he could not authoritatively comment on the latest development because the board had not officially communicated to him.

“Up to now, we are seeing the alleged ban in the press. We have not been served with official communication and so, we cannot comment on the issue until we see the contents of the de-registration,” he said.

RECTIFY A FEW AREAS

Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule said that its representatives had held “a very fruitful meeting” the whole day Wednesday with the board during which they were told to rectify a few areas they had gone wrong.

“We were not told that we had been deregistered. We were shocked in the evening to hear from the mainstream and social media that our licences had been cancelled. It was wrong for such a respectable government agency to operate that way,” he said.

He said the board had asked them to rectify two areas: inform it whenever a new board member was appointed or a when new bank account was opened.

Mr Khalif claimed that linking the human rights groups to terrorism was a government ploy to cover up the disappearances, kidnappings and extrajudicial killings that they had documented.

He said the NGO had forwarded the information to the government but nothing had been done.

“The last two years have been hell for us in this country,” he said.

He said the organisation would not be cowed but would continue to do its business “because we are the peoples’ watchdog and duty-bound to do what we are doing”.

He denied allegations that Muhuri had operated for 10 years without being registered. According to him, the NGO used to operate under the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and had been submitting returns without failure each year.

Mr Khalid asked the government to give Haki Afrika an opportunity to explain its position and activities.

“We, as everybody knows, have been operating above board. These people you see with me here are all our staff and this is our only office. All our directors are known to the public. We hope we can be given an opportunity to meet the NGO Board and to state our case,” he said.

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