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February 18, 2019

Haki Africa demands quick probe on missing activist Caroline Mwatha

Haki Africa officials Wevyn Muganda, Salma Ahmed and Hussein Khalid at their offices in Mombasa on Monday, February 11, 2019. / BRIAN OTIENO
Haki Africa officials Wevyn Muganda, Salma Ahmed and Hussein Khalid at their offices in Mombasa on Monday, February 11, 2019. / BRIAN OTIENO

Human rights group Haki Africa is concerned about the disappearance of their colleague, Caroline Mwatha, last Wednesday.

Mwatha, who is a founding member of the Dandora Community Social Justice Centre, was last seen on Wednesday last week when she took her daughter to school but failed to report to work.

On Monday, Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said her mysterious disappearance, especially after reportedly receiving threats from police officers, raises questions.

“We are taking this matter seriously and view it as an affront to human rights defenders across the country,” said Khalid in his office.

Mwatha has been involved in documenting cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in Nairobi’s Dandora estate.

Earlier today, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko offered Sh300,000 reward for information on the missing activist.

Read: Sonko offers Sh300,000 reward for information on missing activist Caroline Mwatha

Haki Africa deputy executive director Salma Ahmed said security authorities should expedite investigations into Mwatha’s disappearance.

“Threats to human rights defenders have been reported in Nairobi, Nyeri, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu,” she said.

However, the activists said the threats will not stop them from defending human rights.

She said such intimidation and threats to human rights defenders will not only shrink civil space but also lead to increased killings and forced disappearances.

Wevyn Muganda, who also works for Haki Africa, said human rights defenders are increasingly being targeted for either elimination or harm.

“Despite the fear, we have the courage to go on with what we do because we feel we are on the right track and whatever we are doing is for the community,” Muganda said.

Ahmed said activists mostly speak out against ills committed by people in authority who do not like being exposed.

“One of the ways to silence us is to do things like these (forced disappearances),” Ahmed said.

She, however, said this will not silence the voice of the voiceless.

More on this: Search for missing Dandora activist extended to forests, rivers

See more: #FindCarolineMwatha: Human rights group to hold night vigil in Dandora

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