The National Victims and Survivors Network (NVSN) is the umbrella body comprising of various victims’ groups that suffered human rights violations and historical injustices and was formed as a result of a resolution at the conclusion of a National Victims Convention which was held in 2009 on the heels of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) and at the onset of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation process.
Our ambition remains realizing redress for all victims in a manner that restores their dignity and promotes national cohesion.
We have endured false promises, false starts and half-measures. We have been urged to move on by some and been the subject of rhetoric without action from others. We however remain the conscience of our ailing nation-building project and a painful stain that indifference and denial has failed wipe off.
This manifesto articulates our desired roadmap to justice and we urge all political actors to endorse it and incorporate it within their pre and post their political campaign pledges to the country.
In solidarity with all victims and survivors of historical injustices and gross human rights violations in Kenya, and demanding that they not be overlooked or forgotten,
Remembering the desire of the Kenyan people, through many decades, for a true accounting of their history and for an end to impunity,
Recognizing that as a nation Kenyans invested heavily in the process of creating a shared truth through the vehicle of the TJRC,
Recalling the President’s pledge in his 2015 State of the Nation Address to establish a KES 10 Billion fund for victims of historical injustices and gross human rights violations,
We declare the following to be priority issues for victims and survivors:
- Adoption of the TJRC Report
The Report of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) was handed to the President in May 2013 and tabled in the National Assembly in July 2013. The National Assembly of the 11th Parliament has failed to adopt the report and establish an implementation mechanism for its recommendations.
Through the NVSN, a petition was submitted to the National Assembly on the 3rd of December, 2015 calling for the adoption and implementation of the TJRC report, only to be met with rhetorical commitment and technicalities such as stalling debate by failing to schedule it in parliamentary business or burying it within a departmental committee for deliberations.
Despite the goodwill demonstrated by some legislators such as the human rights parliamentary caucus, the reality is the National Assembly has ceased “sine die”, we are not any closer to the adoption of the TJRC report than we were 4 years ago.
We consider the TJRC report to be a representation of our best effort to establish an accurate, complete and historical record of violations and abuses of human rights in Kenya. This report is therefore essential to steering a conversation on national cohesion in the country and cannot remain ‘embargoed’ in the National Assembly.
- We demand a political commitment that ensures the next National Assembly adopts the TJRC report and an implementation framework as a matter of foremost priority on the parliamentary agenda. This should be accompanied by a broad dissemination strategy that makes the TJRC report part of the school syllabus and community dialogues.
- Clarity on the President’s Fund and a Sustainable Reparations Programme
In March 2015, H.E President Kenyatta delivered his second State of the Nation of Address and made a pledge that seemed to be a significant turning point for the quest to deal with Kenya’s historical injustices. He broke his silence since receiving the TJRC report in May 2013 by calling on Parliament to process the report without further delay. He further instructed the Treasury to establish a fund of KES 10 (Ten) Billion over three years for restorative justice and took the unprecedented step of making an apology on his own behalf, that of his government and on behalf of all past governments for historical violations.
Two years later and now heading towards a general election, this promise has not been realized. The government through the Office of the Attorney General eventually committed to developing regulations to govern the operations of the fund and as of July 2017 the process remains ongoing.
It is also noted that the government has continued its resettlement programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) under a cloud of uncertainty and allegations of excluding deserving beneficiaries.
In fact, numerous victims of violations from the 2007-08 Post-Election Violence (PEV) are yet to be recognized or receive reparations from government programmes. Currently, there are 3 constitutional petitions before the High Court filed by victims of sexual and gender-based violence, forced migration and police shootings all seeking recognition and reparations.
- The next government must account for the current status, institute clear policy and regulations to guide the KES 10 Billion fund as the inception of a reparations programme that will be refinanced in accordance with victims’ needs.
- There must be a comprehensive and transparent process for identification of victims and survivors who will be beneficiaries of the reparations programme and a comprehensive profiling of their needs.
- There must be an audit and clarification on the status of the IDP resettlement programme.
- Payment of Court Awards in Relation to Civil Claims Filed by Victims and Survivors
There is a considerable legacy of civil litigation filed by and on behalf of victims that have challenged the State on its failure to provide reparations to victims on various occasions resulted in the award of damages in favor of victims. The Nyayo House and the Ex-Airforce torture cases among others are an example of this sad state of affairs that the State has sadly been slow to finalise and as result compound the anguish experienced by the victims.
To date, NVSN has documented over Ksh.8.0 Billion in court awards claims that are yet to be paid out to torture victims from the Nyayo House and Nyayo House torture victims categories.
About 70 other torture cases are still pending in the court system despite previous assurances from the office of the Attorney General indicating that they would not only prioritize the payments but would no longer contest such cases filed by victims and survivors.
- All pending court-issued awards to victims of historical injustices and gross human rights violations must be designated a high priority by the next government and be fully allocated for in the next budget for immediate settlement within that financial year.
- Memorialization as a Key Pillar of Remembrance, Acknowledgment and Reconciliation
Kenya lacks a culture of memorialization i.e. remembering its true heroes particularly those who have paid the ultimate price for our current freedoms and learning from past historical errors of the past. For example, there has not been any effort to memorialize such important personalities like J.M Kariuki, Pio Gama Pinto, Father Kaiser, Bishop Alexander Muge, Martin Shikuku, George Anyona, Katama Mkangi and many others. These national heroes can be remembered through initiatives such as erecting statues, naming of roads and educational institutions but to name a few.
In 2014, the British Government commissioned a Monument (as part of a legal settlement) to commemorate victims of torture and other atrocities during the Mau Mau struggle in colonial era. In the contrast, the post-independence governments has not given memorialization initiatives the necessary attention required as part of a mechanism to enhance reconciliation and promoting national healing.
A case in point is the symbolic monument that was promised by NARC and also recommended by the TJRC at the former torture chambers in the basement of Nyayo House Building in Nairobi.
- Reclaiming Security Sector Reform and Addressing Emerging Injustices
We have noted with deep concern that violations at the hands of security agencies continues to persist in Kenya despite immense resources being directed to security sector reforms. We continue to witness undue force in the policing of public protests, counter-terrorism measures that perpetuate human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings and executions being normalized as a tool to fight crime. Officers who commit these violations are seldom held to account. Up to the month of June 2017, it was documented that the police had killed 80 people and that a majority of them were youth from low income areas. Noting the violent manner in which the 2016 public protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were dispersed by the police, we remain concerned that the electoral environment could result in further violations if there is no accountability for past police conduct. Corruption in the security sector has also persisted with fatal consequences to the lives of ordinary Kenyans who have suffered insecurity on account of a poorly equipped police service.
- There must be an audit of the state of security sector reforms and a pledge of political support to complete this process in the manner that reflects the aspirations of Kenyans as enshrined in the Constitution. In particular, the vetting process of the police must be reopened to the public and include human rights abuses as an area of focus.
- Security agents involved in violation of human rights and who fail to respect the rule of law must be promptly held to account. This should include both criminal and civil liability at the individual and command responsibility levels.
- The next government must commit to immediately constitute a judicial commission of inquiry on extrajudicial killings, executions and enforced disappearances in Kenya to address their systemic nature and fast-track accountability. The next government must also clearly denounce shoot-to-kill orders and guarantee to prosecute officers found culpable.
- The next government must address the key drivers of insecurity in Kenya that include youth unemployment, poor working conditions and terms of service for the police officers which incentivizes corruption.
- In conclusion, we hereby call upon:
- All election candidates to robustly support and facilitate implementation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Report.
- All election candidates to demand substantive police accountability and reforms.
- All election candidates to unequivocally condemn the ongoing extra judicial executions being carried out in urban slum dwellings and in the Northern and Coast regions.
- All election candidates to commit to a credible and peaceful August 2017 general election and that the will of the people takes precedence.
 Nairobi High Court Constitutional Petition No. 122 of 2013
 Constitutional Petition No. 273 of 2011
 Fact Sheet: Police Shootings in Kenya, Open Society Justice Initiative accessed at https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/fact-sheets/fact-sheet-police-shootings-kenya
 “Torture victims owed Sh. 100m” http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Torture-victims-owed-Sh100m/1064-2877642-kc0u8hz/index.html
 See TJRC Report Vol IV at page 29,30 and 31