By Mapenzi Kitsao

Mombasa County, 21/09/2023 — Haki Africa on Thursday voiced its profound disappointment with the National Government’s response to peace and security issues in the country.

In a press briefing held at their premises in Mombasa the Human Rights organization drew attention to a number of security concerns which they believe the government has turned their focus away from.

Yusuf Abubakar, Director of Haki Africa, highlighted the prevalence of terrorism in the Lamu and Tana River regions and underscored the role of skyrocketing living costs and youth unemployment in exacerbating insecurity. Aboubakar firmly stated, “We express our profound disappointment with the current state of peace and security in the country. Our grassroots analysis pinpoints, among other factors, the high cost of living as a driver pushing unemployed youth towards criminal activities. Additionally, we have identified security shortcomings contributing to terror attacks in Lamu and Tana River,” as quoted in their official press statement.

Lawyer Yusuf Abubakar from Haki Africa flanked by representatives from the organization during the press briefing at their offices in Mombasa County.
Photo: Mapenzi Kitsao

During the press briefing, Abubakar called upon the government to urgently address the high cost of living issue. He warned that should the government fail to respond effectively, Haki Africa, as a human rights advocacy group, would explore alternative methods to ensure government accountability. Aboubakar emphasized, “The government has grossly neglected its duty to implement Article 43 of the constitution. While we afford the government some time to rectify this, failure to act will lead us to mobilize citizens to demand compliance.”

Furthermore, Hussein Khalid, the Executive Director, asserted the need for the police to take full responsibility in regions vulnerable to terrorism, regardless of speeches made by CS Inter Kitgure Kindiki. Khalid also emphasized the importance of upholding human rights in Kenya, calling upon the Ministry of Interior to foster community collaboration in the fight against terrorism. Khalid stated, “Police efforts in Lamu and Tana River have shown signs of compromise, and we anticipate that CS Kindiki will take immediate action. Furthermore, combatting terrorism should not serve as a pretext for violating human rights, resulting in violence and property destruction along the Coast.”

Yusuf Abubakar signing the press release before handing it to members of the press.
Photo: Mapenzi Kitsao

Khalid further underscored the imperative of unity between security personnel and citizens, urging, “The Ministry of Interior must ensure seamless cooperation between police officers and citizens. Establishing this alliance is pivotal for maintaining a stable security environment.”

Mathias Shipeta, the Rapid Response Officer at Haki Africa Mombasa, added a critical perspective by highlighting the need for the government to focus on community development projects and prioritize security, recognizing the interconnectedness of investments and security. He affirmed, “While the government has invested significantly in local community development projects, their success hinges upon the security conditions in the area. We call upon the government not only to initiate development projects but also to ensure a secure environment.” Shipeta also stressed the direct correlation between the high cost of living and the upsurge in terrorism cases along the Coast.

In a commendable effort, the Executive Director and the Director applauded their organization’s initiatives aimed at empowering youth. They proudly announced their successful fundraising efforts to establish small businesses for young entrepreneurs, including barber shops and dressmaking studios. Aboubakar proudly stated, “We have effectively provided funding for aspiring young entrepreneurs to establish enterprises such as barber shops and dressmaking studios, all of which are thriving.”

Recognizing the vital role of women in promoting peace and security, Ms. Awour, the Women Coordinator of the Women Initiative, revealed various programs, including the “Maskani Talks,” designed to empower women in mentoring and educating their children. She explained, “Our ‘Maskani Talks’ sessions regularly engage women and empower them to educate their children on responsible living, especially given the prevalence of uninformed teenage delinquents in our areas.”