Protect hard-earned freedoms at all costs

Monday, August 23rd, 2021 00:00 | By
The burial ceremony at Kianjokoma Primary School of the two Embu brothers who died while in police custody. Photo/Courtesy

A damning report from Freedom House indicating Kenya is not completely free should concern all of us.

This is especially important as we are headed to the General Election next year.

The non-profit organisation whose works focuses on democracy, political freedom and human rights, says while the country has a few things in place including multi-party democracy, a healthy competition between parties and a seemingly free media, some things still need to change.

They include tribalism, which is still being used to marginalise a number of communities; corruption, which undermines the functioning of government especially since organisations mandated to combat the vice are ineffective; and poor press freedom, where specific journalists are targeted despite a thriving and vibrant media environment. Police brutality has also been on the rise.

All these factors gave the country a measly 48 points out of 100, a low mark for a country that seems to be doing better than most on the continent. Consequently, there is work to be done for citizens to thrive and be free.

For starters, everything should be in place to protect the electoral process in the country, as we head to the elections.

Reforms at the electoral body must be transparent and fair, to ensure that intimidation and violence against officers do not happen and that the body is independent from any undue influence.

With Covid-19 exposing the extent of police brutality, action must be taken to stop this.

The relevant bodies must address and resolve deaths of the Kianjokoma brothers and other Kenyans, taking the involved officers to account and getting the families of the deceased justice. 

Beyond that, the police service must be reformed to avoid being for violence against Kenyans as we gear up to the elections- the scenes of 2017 are still quite fresh in many people’s minds.

Government must also work hard to empower all organisations including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary,  to be able to deal with corruption cases to their entirety.

Enforcing rules such as limiting corrupt politicians from running for office, should also be prioritised.

Importantly, the press, civil society organisations and individuals, must not relent in highlighting civil liberties violations and other cases.

We must work hard as Kenyans, to create an environment where we demand for and enjoy our freedom without fear.

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