The Significant and Laudable CORD Resolution Against Nyumba Kumi

Cord Principals after the Joint PG Meeting

When the government formed a committee to oversee the implementation of the so-called Nyumba Kumi initiative, its Chair was named as former Provincial Commissioner Joseph Kaguthi, a child of the repressive KANU regime and a student of the unaccountable, colonial and corrupt Provincial Administration that brought untold terror in the grassroots. If anyone needed any proof that the bills of rights is under serious threat, then you got it right there! Thankfully the CORD joint gubernatorial and parliamentary group meeting held on 19 Nov 2013 has outrightly opposed this ill-conceived Nyumba Kumi initiative.

The formation of Nyumba Kumi implementation Committee which was supposedly prompted by the terrorist attack on the upmarket Westgate mall is in the pipeline. Many saw this Westgate attack as a gross failure of Kenyan security organs more so as a statement of a weak intelligence service. Others saw Westgate as a carefully planned inside job meant to justify Kenya’s push for deferral of ICC cases facing the President and his deputy. To its credit, CORD also gave the Jubilee President – Uhuru Kenyatta a 14-day ultimatum to immediately constitute a Westgate Commission of Enquiry. Sources say fearful NSI and KDF are blocking since it will force their guilty bosses to testify in an open hearing, possibly with extremely embarrassing revelations expected.

But let’s face it! Nyumba Kumi is illegal under the current constitutional system. It is obvious that it intended to tighten government grip on free movement, free speech and free association of its citizens. There is little doubt that Nyumba Kumi is nothing but mass surveillance which will ultimately lead to a totalitarian state where political dissent is mercilessly crushed in the name of safeguarding national security.

Nyumba Kumi comes hot on the heels two draconian laws being crafted by Jubilee government. One is the widely condemned Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2013 which outlines changes to the ways NGOs can operate and the repressive the Information and Communication Amendments Bill 2013, which would give a government body powers to impose hefty sanctions on the media. The former law is still in debate stages in parliament, while the latter media law is awaiting presidential assentation. In all of these cases, the ultimate aim is to exert control. NGO’s act as watchdog especially on political class that often comes together on a matter of mutual interest. Media, although presently heavily partisan and compromised, is the voice of the people and all that is there remains as a means of highlighting societal ills. On top of this, police and judicial reforms as envisaged by 2008 AGENDA 4 have been sabotaged by impunistic forces within the system. (Remember they even sneaked in constitution clauses prior to printing of 2010 constitution!). To cap it all off; the OP, KDF, NSI and KPS still retain their large budgets that are mostly unaccounted.

CORD has likened Nyumba Kumbi to a police state, a situation often described as one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the people, especially by means of a secret police force. Nothing underscores the intention of the Jubilee government to make Kenya a police state more than the Nyumba Kumi initiative. This plan will find a responsive provincial administration ready to bond with!

Add this to the fact that despite constitutional demands and a court order that the Government should restructure the provisional administration to accord with and respect the system of devolved government established under the new constitution, this has not been done. Both Kibaki and Kenyatta regimes appear hell bent to retain the Provincial Administration and have crafted retrogressive laws to entrench relic provincial administration in the counties without any due respect to devolved units.

Nyumba Kumi is tantamount to mass civilian surveillance which is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population. Mass civilian surveillance is often wrongly justified as necessary to fight terrorism, to prevent social unrest, to protect national security. It has been widely criticized as an affront and violation of the bill of rights, an unwelcome infringement of citizen privacy and for limiting civil and political rights and freedoms. The fact of the matter is, while all citizens deserve security, it is the responsibility of government to provide that security without infringing on the rights of its citizens.

Picture this. The worst dictator of the last two centuries Nazist Adolf Hitler, had his own Nyumba Kumi initiative supervised by the then dreaded German Ministry for State Security, commonly known as the STASI (abbreviation German: Staatssicherheit, literally State Security). STASI was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic or GDR, colloquially known as East Germany. It has been historically described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to ever have existed. One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents. Hitlers draconian laws and policies (which included a Nyumba-Kumi like initiative) resulted in World War II and sadly also in the deaths of at least 5.5 million Jews, and millions of other people whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior.

Kenyans must rise up and fight to protect constitutional gains of the 2010 constitution against the Jubilee onslaught. The answer to insecurity is police and judicial reforms, and full implementation of 2010 constitution.

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4 comments on “The Significant and Laudable CORD Resolution Against Nyumba Kumi

  1. Statement by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in The Office of the President.

    Answers to questions by #KOT about #NyumbaKumi

    1. Official roll out means the start of the process of implementation of a Programme or an initiative. This may be done through a ceremony where the President, Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary or senior Government official presides and declare formally the introduction of the Programme.

    2. #NyumbaKumi which is also called Usalama msingi is not a new policing initiative. It is community policing defined in terms of cluster of households. These households can be in a court in an estate, a street, a block of houses, a manyatta, a market centre etc.

    Under the ongoing police reforms, guidelines have been developed on community policing and the process of formulating a policy is ongoing

    1. #NyumbaKumi is not about spying on your neighbour. It about creating a forum for members in a given residential area to regularly meet and discuss their security challenges and to share their challenges with the police. #NyumbaKumi or community policing seeks to empower community to participate on matters of their security.

    2. Answered in 3

    3. Residents of a given area (NyumbaKumi) will be expected to elect their leaders, whose power or responsibilities can be defined to include convening meetings to discuss security of their area and communicating their security concern to the relevant government office. Leadership in Community policing is a voluntary service to community.

    4. See no 2

    5. NyumbaKumi is community policing. The government has been allocating funds to support community policing and will continue to do so.

    6. Community policing is underpinned by provisions of article 244(e). Community policing and by extension #NyumbaKumi is provided for in a Section 96-100 of the National Police Service Act.

    7. See no 3 above

    8. Yes. Parliament has a constitutional mandate to oversight over the performance of ministries and programmes being implemented by any ministry. Through the relevant departmental committee, parliament will be at liberty to oversight over implementation of #NyumbaKumi initiative.

    9. See no 3 above

    10. Community policing is an international best practice in modern democratic policing. Embracing community policing not admitting failure on the part of the police to cope with the challenge of providing security to Kenyans but a demonstration by government of its resolve to involve community in the fight against crime as criminals live in the community and are known by the members.

    11. The National Security Council Regulations are ready and will be rolled out any time.

    12. Article 240 of the constitution provides for the National Security Council (NSC). Through the NSC Act and pursuant to the provisions of article 6(3) of the constitution, the Council has created Committees such as the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) which is the technical arm of NSC and the Joint Security Secretariat (JSS). The Council has also devolved its services by establishing County Security Committees and other lower level security coordination committees perform specified functions at that level.

    13. The National Security Council and other security committees created by law, do not have establishments to which appointments can be made. Membership of security committees is drawn from persons who hold substantive posts in Government. Vetting for purpose of appointment to committees does not arise

    14. See 15 above

    15. The strength of NyumbaKumi or Community policing is in community in a given area getting to know each other better through regular interaction and sharing. The bad elements in the community will not be comfortable with any interaction and will either run away or be exposed. This will apply in any business or residential area

    16. NyumbaKumi is not a smokescreen to avoid police reforms but a bold and progressive police reform initiative. Community policing is a modern concept in policing and a major paradigm shift from regime policing. NyumbaKumi and by extension community policing focuses on the security and safety of the community

    17. The Tanzania NyumbaKumi model and the philosophy behind may have had issues which may explain what is happening. However the NyumbaKumi is still practiced in Tanzania and the Country’s security is much better. It is important to appreciate that community policing is an international best practice in policing but how a given country implements it will determine its impact on security and safety of its people

    18. NyumbaKumi is not vigilantism. It is not spying on your neighbour. NyumbaKumi is more about regular meetings on security and partnership with security agencies to seek solutions on community security. NyumbaKumi is about knowing your neighbour through interaction and sharing and openly discussing your security concerns and communicating them to the police or relevant agency for action.

    • `
      WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE KENYANS?`

      I dare say that this Nyumba Kumi initiative is the deadliest “security proposal” ever contemplated in independent Kenya. It punches a big hole in our brand new Constitution that sought to provide a modern Bill of Rights.

      This is a potent and repressive gestapo policy that threatens the very stability of the nation.

      Furthermore, its strong support by neighboring dictators in East Africa betrays some of its real intentions. When I’ll have more time, I’ll expound more regarding this monstrous policy that Kenyans shouldn’t entertain. To just sum it up briefly:

      1) It is a clever ploy to GPS-map the actual location of citizens – to specifically obtain ethnic profile maps. The government would want to know how many Kambas, Luhyas etc live in every locality, whether Kariobangi, Ngomongo, or Mukuru. Such action is very sinister. Unlike the census -conducted through international ethical standards that protect the privacy of citizenry – Kumi Kumi is a form of profiling that puts such data directly in the hands of crooked security bureaucrats and politicians.

      2) From data obtained above, political gerrymandering and selective voter disenfranchisement would be a walk in the park by the Jubilee government.

      Voter suppression (through manufactured insecurity – as happened in Coast province during the last elections) can be directed to select enclaves inhabited by voters in the “wrong” tribes. In favourable enclaves, voting would be accelerated through targeted registration and over-placement of voting booths.

      3) The security consumers of the data above (NSIS, CID, police, GSU, Administration Police) would handily conduct “more efficient” suppression operations that could make the 2007/8 PEV lookm like child’s play.

      During PEV, homes inhabited by citizens from the “wrong tribes” were marked with “X” signs by immediate neighbors. This is the same thing the state is doing under the guise of “improving security”.

      4) The other significant consumers of this data would be the neighboring dictators (Museveni, Kagame, and the leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia) who are on a fishing expedition to weed-out exiled citizens hiding in Kenya (whom they label as ‘rebels’).

      Within Kenya’s corrupt security forces, many cops and sleuths are in the payroll of these neighboring dictators — sidetracked daily by undertaking exile-tracking tasks on behalf of these foreign masters. With such data now in their hands, expect an escalation of extrajudicial assasinations of neighboring exilees right on our soil.

      It takes people who have been exiled to read the signs of this deadly Nyumba Kumi initiative. Even former dictator Moi never went this far.

      Uhuru and Ruto are proving they will dangerously roll back the individual liberties of Kenyans –instilling a suppressive atomosphere where fear, persecution and ethnic suspicion reigns supreme. Haven’t we rolled back a full 40 years just within 6 months under the leadership of these paranoid ICC accused duo?

  2. Phil I agree,
    This is a tactic borrowed directly from Stasi and Amins State research bureau.

    If the Nyumba Kumi initiative was an effective way of preventing terrorism I bet that it would have been introduced in other parts of the world including Europe and the US.

    Nyumba kumi is a communist thing that has its origins in the USSR where leaders felt that they had to know exactly everything people were doing. Many Kenyans who went to study in the USSR witness of being hooked up the moment they arrived in that country with a beautiful innocent looking beautiful lady. But the main purpose of the hookup, as they would later learn, was obviously surveillance. Many other college mates were also instructed to keep an eye on the visitor and report whatever they heard. Indeed many African students found themselves in trouble for saying the wrong things. One of my secondary school teachers was deported together with three other Kenyan students because of the above.

    Nyerere and Mengistu being admirers’ of the soviet systems introduced varieties of the KGB surveillance systems. Nyerere called it Nyumba Kumi kumi (ten cell house) while in Ethiopia it was called the Kabele. Rwanda has its own system called midugudu. The idea is subjecting a human being to full control from head to tow. They wanted to know where you were sleeping, what you were eating, if you were happy with the ruling party or not, whom you talked to, what you said and when etc.

    This is the kind of analogue system the digital jubilee crew are keen on introducing.

    In the US Senator Joseph McCarthy was able to whip up hysteria in America in the early 1950s. His pet issue was the surveillance on communist. Americans became frantic to identify and remove communists from positions of power. Many people identified their neighbors, friends and even relatives as communists. These people not only lost means of livelihood and ended up behind bars. His major tactic was intimidation (bullying) and people were afraid to stand up for someone else out of fear they would become next in line. As it turned out later, the fingered people were not even communists.

    This is what Uhuru and Ruto wants to introduce in Kenya. Ruling by fear. Talk about ICC and you will be thrown behind bars before you know it.

    We cannot have a society where betrayal and fear is made to be a rule rather then exception.

    We wont allow it!!

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