MARCH 6, 2009.
Over the years, dating back to the pre-independence days and after, civil society activists have contributed tremendously to the liberation of Kenya, whether that liberation was from the colonial rule or the dark terror of one party state that was to engulf this country years later.
In fact, when politics got confined to those who supported the status quo and the academia was silenced through reprisals and detention in the 1970s all the way to the 1980s, civil society activists became the last standing soldiers in the battle to create a Kenya where human rights; including freedom of speech and freedom of association are respected.
Today, Kenyans owe the freedom they have to the activists who risked their lives and stood up to demand freedom of speech, movement and association at a time those supportive of the status quo wanted everyone to be silent.
It is in recognition of this historical role, and my belief in the sanctity of life, the freedom of thought and freedom of expression that I wish to condemn unreservedly the cold-blooded murder of the Oscar Foundation Executive Director Mr Kamau King’ara and the Foundation’s Programmes Co-coordinator Mr Paul Oulu, last evening.
This act of heartlessness and lawlessness, murder most foul, came only hours after Dr Alfred Mutua, in the name of the government, accused the Oscar Foundation of fundraising abroad to support Mungiki activities locally.
I wish to state to the people of Kenya that Dr Mutua does not speak for the Grand Coalition Government.
The Grand Coalition Government was founded on the principle of consultation. Whatever goes out as a government position must have been discussed by the parties and agreed on before it is announced.
There is no such agreement that the Oscar Foundation was raising money for Mungiki. It gets even more bizarre when that announcement is followed by murder.
I extend great sympathies to the families and friends of these murdered officials and all the civil society fraternity. Life is sacred and whatever the crime one has committed, no one deserves to die unless a credible court process decides so.
Since police are suspects in these killings, it is necessary to have and independent agency to carry out investigations into this murder.
We therefore want to appeal to friends of Kenya locally and abroad to help in unraveling this murder and help bring perpetrators to justice. Kenya has too many of unaccounted for murders that we are still struggling to unravel.
We do not want to add to that growing list. This murder comes only days after the UN rappoteur unearthed disturbing incidents of extra-judicial killing in the country.
It is worrying and I fear that we are flirting with lawlessness in the name of keeping law and order. In the process, we are hurtling towards failure as a state.
I appeal to the UN, the US and EU and all other friends of Kenya to help unravel this murder. In the meantime, I appeal to Kenyans, all Kenyans to remain calm as we seek to unravel this.
Rt. Hon Raila A. Odinga.