Peace and Prosperity Africa
By Taitu Heron
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Kenya: Over 100,000 Police Densioned in 8 Years
Why Antitrust Probes Are Necessary
Anecdotal accounts of police brutality around Africa are becoming more and more common. While many cases have been reported about individual police officers – and the courts often turn a blind eye to what happens on the ground – an abridged report on a seven-year surveillance program in Kenya reveals a troubling set of trends: beatings, detention and mental health abuses committed by police officers against citizens of the East African country. The Kenyan government’s refusal to publicly respond to the findings of the research found in this study reinforces the narratives of impunity that are becoming familiar in public debate in the wake of the electoral crisis of 2007 and 2008.
This report was an assessment of the human rights situation in the East African country using a two-pronged approach: individuals living in some of Kenya’s most marginalized communities provided it with original testimony and researched the issues that they and their families faced, while Kazi Kwa Vijana, a public-private partnership supported by World Bank and the Kenyan government, carried out in-depth visits with people across the country from public-detention centers to households to the streets.
The first part of the report, “Listening to Listen”, focuses on people living in marginalized communities and their experiences with the system of police detention in Kenya. The second part of the report, “Assessing and Responding to the True Needs of People Experiencing Police Deprivation”, investigates and provides a range of practical actions to be taken by the Kenyan government. Both parts are published together in the book Human Rights in Kenya: Police Deprivation of Liberties with a Focus on Accountability and Victims, Where Is Kazi Kwa Vijana, by Taitu Heron (Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Press, 2018).
Listening to Listen In 2009 the Human Rights Commission of Kenya launched the service that now has over 500 subscribers. The program gives people the opportunity to give their observations and experiences with the police that others cannot (most often through a written survey) and allows everyone in Kenya to have their views heard, in an easy and secure way.
The second part of the report investigates what the challenges are for individuals experiencing police deprivation of liberties and how the government might mitigate some of these problems. This part includes recommendations to Kenya’s national government, local governments, and other actors working in this field.
Kazi Kwa Vijana
Kazi Kwa Vijana was created to promote the socio-economic wellbeing of vulnerable communities, and the economic and social integration of informal traders in Kenya. The project is supported by a grant from the World Bank, and implemented by its Kenyan arm, Kenya Economic Development Bank (KEEDB). The goal of Kazi Kwa Vijana is to develop a model of self-reliance and resilience for women entrepreneurs. The program, which was first launched in 2009, strives to integrate informal workers and informal traders into the formal economy and in doing so seek to build a more prosperous society.
To date, the project has completed 29 projects in various locations in Kenya. The projects target people on welfare schemes such as communal service payments, bread subsidies, and incentive schemes, as well as informal traders. The public-private partnership is staffed by 930 employees and has a budget of 29.9 billion shillings in its current grant cycle (two years until January 2019). It is supported by money from private foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Preiss Fund, and the Gates and Gates Foundation, as well as government funding and support from the Ministry of Industrialization, the Ministry of Human Resources, Labour and Social Security, the National Cereals and Produce Board, and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.