The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), which was founded in 1994, defends human rights and advocates for political reforms in Kenya. Currently, Kenya’s democracy is hindered by impunity, indifference to corruption, tribalism and citizen apathy. The failed democracy is associated with massive human rights violations and injustices such as torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, internal displacements and gender violence.
Attempts to change the status quo, such as the establishment of the ethics and anti-corruption commission have in the past been undermined by ensuring malleable personnel are recruited or by applying direct threats to potential whistleblowers. Thus participatory democratisation has not occurred in the country.
KHRC is encouraged by the current reforms. The country’s new constitution, The Constitution of Kenya 2010, holds some promise – the previously centralised government system will be devolved into different levels of authority and accountability and allow for greater public participation. However, it acknowledges that the country is still far from a participatory democracy. As such, it is important to remain vigilant to ensure transparency and integrity.
In order to ensure the implementation and realisation of the new constitution, KHRC, through ICTs, is to monitor and update all stakeholders on activities in the run up-to and during the election period of 2011. Issues of concern will include, among others, human rights violations, voter registrations, leadership standards, as well as ethics and integrity as enshrined in the constitution. Hate speech in the media will also be monitored.
The 27 grassroots human rights networks that the KHRC works with across Kenya will be central to the project. The KHRC intends to meet the logistical and capacity challenges of community based human rights networks to enable them to take advantage of social networking platforms, monitor government performance and mobilise citizens toward a vibrant social movement that ensures the country is free of human rights violations. For details, please visit www.khrc.or.ke.