Ban NGOs linked to gay rights, says team

Thursday May 21 2015

Cabinet Secretary for devolution Anne Waiguru and Permanent Secretary for devolution Mwanamaka Mabruki at a press conference at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu during the Devolution Conference. On May 21, 2015, the 11-member team led by nominated MP Sophia Abdi handed in its report to Devolution CS. FILE PHOTO | TOM OTIENO |

Cabinet Secretary for devolution Anne Waiguru and Permanent Secretary for devolution Mwanamaka Mabruki at a press conference at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu during the Devolution Conference. On May 21, 2015, the 11-member team led by nominated MP Sophia Abdi handed in its report to Devolution CS. FILE PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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A taskforce set up to gather views on suggested amendments to a law governing NGOs could stir further controversy after it recommended a ban on those that advance gay rights.

On Thursday, the 11-member team led by nominated MP Sophia Abdi handed in its report to Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.

In its proposals, the team suggested that a law be passed to ban organisations involved in indecency, espionage or terrorism. It also suggested that public benefit organisations hand over a percentage of their donations to an authority to be established for “regulation.”

“We recommend that the national interests and security be addressed during registration and post-registration of public benefits organisations. Further, they must uphold the security, cultural and religious values of Kenyans,” the taskforce said.

“We suggest that the law be amended to prohibit registration of any organisation that is involved in promotion and advocacy of indecent acts or is involved in the promotion of the national interest of another state or in recruitment, training and incitement to undertake terrorist activities.”

The initial amendments had suggested a cap of 15 per cent for donations from abroad but though the report did not mention this, it gave the government leeway to set up an authority to oversee NGO donations.

Thursday evening, Civil Society Reference, a lobby group that opposed the initial amendments to the PBO Act, said the current law has sufficient regulations on how NGOs conduct themselves.

“The Act already provides a solid framework for accountability for civil society groups. We can accept minor changes but are concerned that provisions for self-regulation could be in danger of being swept aside,” said Mr Irungu Houghton, an official of the group.

“The report will be rejected if it suggests measures to control rather than regulate civil society. We have no objections to accountability but we will demand an enabling environment,” he said.