- In a statement on Tuesday, LSK president Isaac Okero argued that NGOs were doing great work in educating the masses about Kenya’s electoral and political system, and helping them understand issues of concern.
Nairobi. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has hit out at President Uhuru Kenyatta for his blanket condemnation of NGOs involved in civic education ahead of 2017 polls.
In a statement on Tuesday, LSK president Isaac Okero argued that NGOs were doing great work in educating the masses about Kenya’s electoral and political system, and helping them understand issues of concern.
“The State has a responsibility to protect citizens from any real external threat, including that directed at the electoral process. But general statements demonising Kenya’s civil society engaging in carrying out civic education programmes to prepare Kenyans for the 2017 elections are unfortunate and unnecessary,” Mr Okero said.
President Kenyatta on Jamhuri (independence) Day argued that foreign powers were planning to interfere with 2017 polls by financing civil society groups under the guise of civic education.
“In the United States, following the last election, much has been said about potential foreign interference with the electoral process. We are also going into elections next year. There is already money coming into Kenya from abroad in the guise of supporting good governance or civic education,” the President said in Nairobi.
The president was citing the recent US elections where tycoon Donald Trump won the presidency amid claims that hackers supported by Russia helped him by discrediting his opponent Hillary Clinton through email leaks.
However, the lawyers’ body challenged that analogy, saying there were many gaps that the activists were filling such as informing the public on how electoral systems work both before and after voting, helping them identify candidates that promise to deal with challenges affecting them and holding those elected leaders accountable once they get to office.
“These Kenyans are patriots assisting their countrymen to be best able to properly exercise their rights under Article 38 of the 2010 Constitution. Civil Society in Kenya has played a critical role in election preparation since the advent of multi-party politics.” (NMG)