- The current economic crisis is largely due to taxes recently imposed on salaries, commodities and different levels of production.
- Where is Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli? Where are Transparency International and Amnesty Kenya?
Civil society lobbies are the lifeblood of a thriving democracy. They check on the powers of governments. They push for reforms and advocate the protection of civil liberties.
But why are Kenyan civil society lobbies so conspicuously quiet in the face of the current economic crisis? The cost of living has this year risen faster than at any time in recent history.
Prices of essential commodities such as food, housing and fuel have soared to unprecedented levels, leaving many Kenyan families struggling to make ends meet.
Part of that is due to taxes recently imposed on salaries, commodities and different levels of production.
The silence of civil society organisations in the face of this crisis is puzzling, given their historical role in championing social justice and advocating the rights of the marginalised.
Where is Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli? Where are Transparency International and Amnesty Kenya?
They should be at the forefront of addressing issues like the high cost of living.
Many of the current leaders are in bed with the government. They are hesitant to take a stand on economic issues that could be seen as opposing the government's policies.
Of course, the restrictive laws introduced by the former government have also made it harder for some of these organisations to operate freely and effectively. Fear of reprisals may be silencing many voices that would otherwise be calling for action.
Kenyans fondly remember former Cotu boss JJ Mugalla, Juma Boy and, of course, Tom Mboya.
In their days, they distinguished themselves as champions of justice and citizen empowerment. They ensured the government remained accountable and responsive to the needs of the people.
The current civil society space cries for such leaders to emerge.
Quote of the Day: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The American jurist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States died on September 18, 2020