Crackdown on NGOs echoes past repressive State conduct

Kenyans for Peace with Truth & Justice (KPTJ) board member Haron Ndubi (left) joins KHRC executive director George Kegoro and board member Maina Kiai at the human rights group’s offices at Gitanga Road, Nairobi, on August 16 to protest its deregistration by NGO Coordination Board. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • During and after the 2013 election campaigns, Jubilee maligned Western donors and the NGOs that they funded.
  • The government’s hostile attitude towards NGOs s reminiscent of the Nyayo era in the 1980s, when a number of underground organisations and advocacy groups emerged to oppose President Daniel arap Moi’s leadership.
  • While some argue that a large number of NGOs reflects a dysfunctional State, others believe that the presence of vibrant civil society organisations is a reflection of a healthy democracy.

The vindictive attempts to de-register two leading civil society organisations by the NGOs Coordination Board (which has proved to be more of a body that stifles rather than coordinates them) suggests that the Jubilee administration will be as —if not more —antagonistic towards these organisations in its second term as it was when it first took office.

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