Kenya: Attempted Raid and Deregistration of Human Rights Organisations

The NGO Coordination Board have targeted two national human rights organisation – the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)- in the wake of the recent national elections. The two organisations had been vocal in demanding for transparency during the elections and acted as monitors too.

On the 14th August 2017, the KHRC was issued a note of deregistration by the NGO Coordination Board for accusations of operating “illegal bank accounts,” employing without necessary permits and tax evasion. These allegations have been denied by KHRC. The accusations in question had already been adjudicated in 2015 in the high court of Kenya (KHRC vs. NGO Coordination Board 495 of 2015). This was when KHRC was first deregistered, however it was ruled that deregistering the organisation and freezing its bank accounts were deemed as unconstitutional, null and void.

On the 16th August 2017, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenyan police attempted to enter the office of AfriCOG without notice and with a defective search warrant. AfriCOG was accused of not being registered under the NGO Coordination Act. The NGO Coordination Board wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to order its close of operations as well as the Central Bank to freeze its bank accounts. However, Civil Society is free to select under which regime to register their organisation. AfriCOG is registered under the Companies Act as a company limited by Guarantee – therefore the NGO Coordination Board has no mandate over the operations of the organisation.

The attempted raid on AfriCOG offices was prevented by instructions from the Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary – Fred Matiangi – who called for formulation of an inclusive and representative committee to work with the NGO Coordination Board to determine the compliance of AfriCOG and the KHRC with NGO regulations. The instructions also suspend any actions against both organisations for 90 days to enable the committee to carry out its functions.

This article summaries an original CIVICUS article which can be found here: