Revv22's Blog

June 29, 2013

Love as a Crime: My statement at the launch of the Amnesty International Report by hte same title.

In Kenya, like in many African countries, gender transgression and non-heterosexual orientation are not as widely accepted and recognized as in some parts of the world. This can be attributed to the patriarchal nature in which most of our cultures are set up; a set-up that has, since time immemorial, oppressed the self-determination of women, youths and anyone that seems to challenge the balance of power in society. Apart from cultures, the conservative interpretation of religious doctrines has immensely contributed to not only non-recognition but also in creating a pre-text that encourages the use of violence and discrimination against same sex loving persons.

As human rights campaigners, we know that getting to that vital point of tolerance and eventual acceptance is a process of cultural evolution that will solely rely on the dynamicity of culture.

As we wait for this cultural change however, there continues to be gross violations to the dignity, equality and basic human rights of individuals that form part of our families, communities and society. In the last seven days there men from three different towns in Kenya survived a slit throat, hammer blows to the head and a machete attack respectively. The common denominators are that all three were perceived to be homosexuals and that a week prior; a study was publicly released claiming the three towns had the highest number of gay men in the country.

On a weekly basis, about five persons fall victim to blackmailing rackets that threaten to expose them, others face evictions from their homes as their right to privacy is invaded, some are expelled from learning institutions, while other people are unable to access vital healthcare for STIs and HIV.

It is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of these citizens. This obligation cannot be transferred or put aside for a more accommodating time. The existence of regressive laws and policies that hinder government ability to protect the fundamental human rights of its citizens should be addressed and our African government must not continue turning a blind eye.

Human rights are not relative to geography, time and tradition. They are universal- as universal as the human being- each and every one of which is born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Thank you.


October 18, 2011

Why I support taking the fight to the HSM (Al- Shaabab) and no one else

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 6:13 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I just read an opinion aired on a blogg(link posted below), to the effect that it is not necessary to send our army into Somali land in pursuit of the Al-Shaabab, and that the Anti Stock Theft unit of the Police would suffice in dealing with the terror group.

Al – Shaabab, also known as Harakat Al-Shaabab Al-Mujahidin (HSM) is a group that managed to gain and maintain control most of southern Somalia after its mother organisation, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) that controlled the capital Moghadishu, was driven out by a joint Ethiopian-Ugandan military project. Al-Shaabab was the military wing of ICU and has a cocktail of ideological, forced recruits and volunteer fighters on offer.

So to juxtapose it against Mungiki would only reveal an asymmetrical correlation in an organic sense where Mungiki would be seen as a small child making the clichee statement,”when I grow up…”.

We should be very afraid of the gang, particularly now that it has threatend Kenya. They managed to carry out bombings at the heart of Kampala during the 2010 FIFA world cup which killed more than 70 people, they have successfully manage to kidnapp both Kenyans and foreigners from within our borders and they are known to have links with Al-Qaeda. The US doesn’t take their threat lightly and according to information from their Centre for Foreign Relations(CFR), they have drones hoovering over southern Somalia that are constantly gathering info and occasionally dropping a bomb.

We are at War! The blogger doesn’t seem to appreciate this fact and rushes to point out that it is a joint operation by the Kenya and Somali governments. He calls it an asymmetric war where Kenya is being unfair by using resources that the HSM doesn’t have. I agree with him that the media are bent on calling it a “war” rather than a “joint military op” for its business value, but that is just a Potatoe-Viazi situation, same thing by a different name.

The reason why I particularly support that the fight be taken to Al-Shaabab in Baidoa and other strongholds, is the possibility of the violation of the rights of Kenyan citizens and Refuge seekers that would ensue if the only viable alternative cause of action is to be pursued, which would be a two phase operation as far as my layman projections can forsee:
1. tightly sealing the borders to ensure no entry and exit across Kenya- Somali.
2. Fishing out the militant elements and sympathisers trapped on our side of the border.

Both of these have began simultaneously and the heavy military presence at the border towns is already proving the seal. Whether the crashed helicopter is indeed the result of a mechanical problem as reported or the handiwork of an Al-Shaabab counter is still debatable. Al-Shaabab has both the opportunity and motive. They are, however, always quick to claim responsibility for every single attack they succcesfully carry out.

In an interview with Citizen TV, Francis Kimemia the Permanent Secretary for Security, mentioned a series words that had me gravely worried. Daabab, Eastleigh, sympathisers, legitimate refugees, unregistered refugees, repatriation. The alarm bells were furiously ringing.
The possibility of having ideological supporters on this side of the border is obvious, but panicky and hurried attempts at fishing them out among Kenyan- Somali and Somali refugees can only result in abuse. Like in the US, under the Bush administrations homeland security policies that legitimated racial profiling, there will be gross ethnic profilling and life for the average ethnic in Eastleigh would be tough. You can imagine what it would be like for the over four hundred and fifty thousand refugees in camps up north. It is a well known fact that our country would welcome any quick solutions to the refugee camp “menace” and our government only allows refugees because it needs to be in good books with the UN. Tagging the camps a risk to national security, would provide a permanent solution in the form of mass repatriation. it is for this reason that I hope and pray that any available angle including and prioritising diplomacy, be studied and pursued in resolving the conflict and handing back the refugees their home in a peaceful state.

This would also ensure that our Kenyan brothers and sisters of somali ethnicity are subjected to rights abuse by government agencies as they did in earlier years.



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