Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Deported: Clara Gutteridge kicked out of Kenya

The Minister for Immigration, Otieno Kajwang, a former progressive and one who accepted to be referred to as a human rights activist in the past signed her deportation.

Freedom of expression does not begin to be supressed when a book is banned from the public – a useless move these days of internet even if some try to slow cyberspace down - but when people who ask questions become unbearable. When a government deports a researcher, fear is spread. In a very sure way, this action says something to all minds. It says that it is not good to find out. Finding out normally leads to expressing. What we see and hear is very much part of our lives and even fiction. Fiction is not far from truth. Many, such as Clara Gutteridge write non-fiction.

Clara Gutteridge, a British national, was deported from Kenya on the 21st of March 2011 in the name of national security. Clara G is an International Open Society Fellow researching on terror laws. She says something dark has been happening in Kenya in the last decade regarding secret detentions and tortures.

What national interests would Clara, working with the Kenya National Comission on Human Rights threaten? Does the Governmenf ot Kenya, for example, imagine that when due process is abused as in the case of renditioned Kenyans including those lying in Ugandan cells among them human rights activist Al Amin Kimathi we shall sit back and when we stand up, say three cheers for our national security, hipp! hipp!?

Does anyone think that I, that we, shall close our eyes witthoug dealing with the fact that people do disappear in Kenya through the work of the police and are never seen again? Is that national security? In whose interests are we being governed? Have we as a Kenyan people not given ourselves a new constitution just last year August 2010?

I am alarmed that Kenya will not allow an Open Society Fellow to do her research. I am appalled that someone I was in debates with on a program named Cross Fire, as progressive voices in Kenya in the years 2007 and who was a human rights lawyer, The minister for Immigration Otieno Kajwang should be the one to append his signature to this deportation.


In Kenya, layers of power rub too closely. The visible symptoms of this so far include unfortunately, intolerance. In Kenya, we see enemies everywhere. We now have a new constitution (August 2010) and we should be opening up, but there are dark secrets we want to guard.

My standard of openness is not America or the west ... but Ubuntu which is so African. My standard for injecting levels of reason on human rights and ways of being with dignity and pride are taken from my ancestors who include: Nkurumah, Mandela, Nyerere, Rosa Parks, Senghor... Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others. Put aside the weak notion that I stand for what is human because of the west as we know it today.

In Kenya, Our so called ‘enemy’ is seen to be too close for comfort. Next door. I mean for example that just a few months back on 12. Dec. 2010, both the Kenyan Prime Minister and the President expressed openly the fear that the American Ambassador Michael Ranneberger was funding young people to overthrow the Kenyan government. Not long before that some discussion had come up pointing out that the Kenyan Open Society, and a listserve called Kenyans for Peace Through Justice which was formed during Kenya’s post election violence of 2007- 2008 was connected with trying to change the Kenyan leadership and had caused the post poll violence we witnessed.

And so I remember Julie Ward, A British girl who was killed in Kenya’s Maasai Mara park in the 80s for we have not yet had an answer for her father. I am reminded that the Attorney General of Kenya, Amos Wako, spoke of the incompetence of Philip Alston who made a report on human rights in Kenya and mainly collected evidence on the disappeared of Kenya. The Attorney General, the police and armed forces all ridiculed this report as did many politicians. In whose national interest was all this or is all this often done?


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