Defiance and Activism During the Uhuru Kenyatta Presidency in Kenya



Uhuru became president on March 4th 2013. His election was not supported by several civil society organizations as well as western powers due to pending ICC cases. The 2013 election equally was contested and some believe that the threshold of 50% +1 was not met by the president. Consequently, his election was contested in court with organizations like AFRICOG taking a leading role in pointing out election irregularities.  The ICC cases have dominated UHURU’s focus in the initial years of his rule. Equally, the war the Kibaki regime started by sending troops into Somalia has defined Uhuru’s concerns. The tyranny of numbers in parliament has enabled UHURU to bulldoze through many issues of national importance.

Ethnic mobilization in the run up to March 2013 elections meant high levels of ethnic polarization in the country. There were cases of candidates being chased from certain areas in the course of campaigns. Ruto was chased away from Kisii, Raila was chased away from Meru, The people of central could not let Raila campaign in their hometowns in the run up to 2013 elections. In the face of all challenges to do with security, perceived ethnicity driven appointment into senior positions of government, lack of will power to address land issues etc, the UHURUTO regime is seen to engage more in PR than addressing the issues. It has not escaped many commentators that the only issue UHURUTO regime has met head on is ICC cases.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta owns no land: ICC told. This sounds ridiculous; considering that same person with no land, applied (DN. 21st Jan, 2015) for lease period renewal for a parcel amounting to 30,000 acres, which according to records was approved. The land CS (Charity Ngilu) states that, “her ministry was in the process of reorganizing its operations and had discovered that 1.3 million files were lost, misplaced or misfiled.” Going by this how can we be sure/trust the tenure system in the nation? In his election manifesto, Mr. Kenyatta acknowledged that "Kenya's future prosperity is dependent upon the transformation into a property owning and land-user rights democracy.”Our ambition is a massive expansion of land user and ownership rights, so that all Kenyans who want to own their own homes are able to do so;" this however to date, only holds on paper. 

2013- Occupy Parliament Protest
The first engagement of parliamentarians after the March 2013 elections was reviewing their salaries. These angered many Kenyans and brave activist took the fight to parliament in a protest dubbed occupy parliament. Using pigs to signify the greed of MPs: a pack pigs was used in the demonstrations. Key personalities involved were Timothy Njoya and Boniface Mwangi.
June 2013: Unga Protests
Activists drawn from various CSOs protest proposed tax on maize meal (Unga protests) – convener was Cidi Otieno
2013- Agitation by People with Disability
On 12 November 2013, people with disability led by Isaac Mwaura agitated over actions by national council for people with disabilities and government reluctance to ensure disability mainstreaming in the country.
2013- The Public Benefit Organizations act 2013protests
On 21st of November 2013, civil society organization held a demonstration in Nairobi protesting changes in law. The new law proposed caps on NGO financing and a new regulatory framework that ensured more state control on NGO operations
2013- The media bill 2013
On 3rd December, journalists and other activists held a protest against the media bill 2013, which was labeled as draconian because it limited media freedom.
2014- The Karen Land Saga
The Cord officials listed Mr Ruto alongside Lands minister Charity Ngilu, police boss David Kimaiyo, CID director Ndegwa Muhoro, Nairobi governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko as the public officials behind the alleged grabbing of the 134-acre piece of land in Karen. Furthermore, Businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose has sued two firms for allegedly grabbing the land he claims to have bought for Sh1.2 million in 1982. Mr Da Gama Rose’s suit is against Telesource, a firm owned by former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo, and Jina Enterprises which claimed to have sold the land to Telesource. This is an evidence than issues on land in Kenya lives to date.

2014- Occupy Harambee Avenue
On 25th November 2014, Irked by continued security lapses, the civil society groups and members of the public organized a sit in protest dubbed occupy Harambee Avenue. This was prompted by a series of Alshaabab attacks, that would have been prevented, that seemed unabated due to government laxity or incompetence. Some key participants were Boni Khalwale and Boniface Mwangi among other social media activists #KOT

2014- Security Act 2014
 Before the Wajir Massacre of quarry workers, Alshabaab carried out a number of attacks. There was the Westgate Siege, Mpeketoni, Assanand House attack and numerous others in Nairobi and North Eastern Kenya. However, the Wajir Massacre seems to have jostled Kenyans and government into action.

On 25th November 2014, Irked by continued security lapses, the civil society groups and members of the public organized a sit in protest dubbed occupy Harambee Avenue. This was prompted by a series of Alshaabab attacks, that would have been prevented, that seemed unabated due to government laxity or incompetence. Some key participants were Boni Khalwale and Boniface Mwangi among other social media activists #KOT

2014-           930 Acre Land in Likoni
There arose controversy after squatters protested on the controversial 930-acre piece of land in Likoni, Mombasa. the land belongs to Mr. Waitiki Kamau. The Government the Jubilee Government, through Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, abandoned the citizens; stating  the squatters should pay Mr. Waitiki for the land they occupy or face forceful eviction. However, the squatters led by their Chairman, Salim Mohammed, Muslim clerics and political leaders criticized Uhuru/ Ruto’s Government for reneging on its promise to buy the land for them. The vow is, they will not move an inch from the land unless they are all killed because the land is their ancestral property

2014- Occupy Parliament
In response to rising agitation over security, In December 2014, the government quickly introduced a bill aimed at limiting individual freedoms and rights as a way of fighting terrorism. This bill was met with hue and outcry from civil society organizations, members of the public and CORD, the opposition. On 18th December the civil society activists and the opposition staged a protest dubbed occupy parliament. The protesters were violently dispersed and a number arrested and charged in court. The security bill was passed in parliament through a shameful process given the chaos witnessed.

2015- Occupy Playground
The UHURUTO government is widely viewed as not keen to address land concerns in Kenya. Title deeds issued at the coast were widely interpreted as PR and did not address the real land issues. The turf wars between the ministry and NLC are seen as systemic efforts to control land adjudication processes in Kenya. Following the grabbing of a Lang’ata primary school playground by some private developers, civil rights activists led by area MP and Boniface Mwangi staged a protest.

Kenyan police on 19th January, 2015 tear-gassed school children protesting against a politician's alleged move to seize their playground and turn it into a car park. Dozens of pupils aged from six to 13 joined in the protest, carrying placards proclaiming 'Land grabbing is terror against children', 'Kenya at 51 it's about our future', and 'Kenya: the land of the shameless grabbers'. Painfully, the state deploys over 40-armed policemen to defend the land grabber. At least 10 children were taken to hospital with injuries, including tear gas exposure to their eyes.

2014-2015-  Social Media Activism
This period has registered increased online presence by Kenyans and new engagements and collaborations among activists. A new form of activism is emerging that has leaders very worried as evidenced in the recent arrests of Robert Alai, Abraham Mutai and Nancy from Embu. Much criticism and defiance against Uhuruto regime is online. Numerous blogs, facebook entries and tweets are anti-government policy directions. There are bloggers who have been active in defiance on social media. They include Robert Alai, Gathara, Cyprian Nyakundi, Betty Waitherero, Bonny Khalwale, Abraham Mutai, Ekuru Aukot and other members of thirdwayKE

2015- : Utheri wa Lari 2000 Acres Land; Lari Sub-county
On 24th January, The people from Lari Sub-county attached and killed 8 people over a 2000-acre piece of land.

To be continued.....

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