On July 7, commonly known as Saba Saba Day, human rights defenders and civil society organizations took to the streets in Nairobi and other major parts of the country to protest about the shrinking civil space.
Saba Saba Day has been celebrated in Kenya for 31 years now, and commemorates the Second Liberation struggle in the country.
Today, Saba Saba Day is used to call for an end to police brutality and killings, and to advocate for a favourable legal and policy environment in Kenya.
And as sadly expected, police officers, with total disregard to the right to picket, dispersed the protestors using teargas.
The HRDs held hands as they marched along the Nairobi streets singing corrupted gospel songs that criticised the police for violating the same human rights they swore to protect.
At least 20 people were arrested as the CSOs and HRDs marched to condemn youth unemployment and harsh economic times.
United Green Movement party leader Agostino Neto called for courage and verve among the HRDs and stand up against tyrannical leadership that denies youth opportunities.
Neto said the number of unemployed graduates in Kenya needs to be determined and a stipend given to them monthly.
The activists petitioned Parliament to come up with a bill that will ensure no graduate suffers the humiliation of joblessness, yet they have requisite papers to get employment.
“They should be given at least Sh20,000 a month before they can find jobs,” said the former Ndhiwa MP.
He said the government’s Kazi Mtaani initiative is an insult to some of the jobless graduates.
“The Kazi that will help the graduates is not cleaning the roads. Meaningful work that will help the country,” he said.
Communist Party of Kenya’s Sefu Sanni called for economic empowerment of all women in the country.
She said employment opportunities need to be created for women, who, she said, have been discriminated against for far too long.
“So that we are not slaves to marriage, not slaves to our men, but that we can move forth with our dreams as women as well,” said Sanni.
Coast Universities and Colleges Association leader Edwine Shamir said students in Kenya have been raped, maimed and killed with impunity because of the corrupt government, who turn a blind eye on the issues.
He called on the government to invest more in university and college infrastructure so that all students can be accommodated within their learning institutions.
CPK’s Booker Ngesa said it is ironic that some politicians have little or no education yet they are paid huge sums of money in salaries by struggling youth who are learned but have been denied employment opportunities because of corruption.
“Yet these very same people tell our young people that they need jobs and that they should find jobs for themselves,” said Ngesa.
Story By IFA Nairobi Team