, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – A section of civil society organizations have denied accusations by President Uhuru Kenyatta that they are receiving funds from foreign powers to interfere with next year’s General Election.
The Kenyan section of the International Commission of Jurists said the president’s Jamhuri Day remarks casting aspersions on the civic education exercise by various rights groups are unjustified and only serve to scare them away from discharging their mandate.
“Remarks by both the President and Interior Principal Secretary to curtail the work of civil society in conducting civic education amounts to a direct attempt at curtailing multiple fundamental human right provided for in Chapter Four of the Constitution of Kenya,” noted Samwel Mohochi, commission’s Executive Director during a press briefing on Friday.
Mohochi told a news conference that civil society groups have a role to play in ensuring that citizens are educated on how to exercise their rights during elections without necessarily working with the electoral commission.
“ Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) do fundraise independently of each other – it is not a walk in the part- they have to account for each and every cent they receive from the donors,” he said adding: “ It is practically impossible to expect funding that has been availed to them to be transferred to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).”
The commission faulted a directive issued on Wednesday by Principal Secretary State Department of Interior, Eng Karanja Kibicho calling for a crackdown on Non Governmental Organizations offering civic education urging state officers to refrain themselves from enforcing such an order.
During the 53rd Jamhuri Day celebration on Monday, President Kenyatta hit out at unnamed Civil Society Organizations for meddling in the country’s preparations for next year’s polls cautioning that such actions would not be taken kindly by Kenyans.
“There is already money coming from abroad in the guise of promoting good governance or civic education, however its true intention is to influence our electoral choice,” the President said during the celebrations held at the Nyayo National Stadium.
“I want to caution those members of the International Community taking these actions that Kenyan people do not look kindly on such actions. I urge all Kenyans to reject such interference, this is our country and no one should ever control our choices for their own selfish interest.”