Norway to fund NGO in spite of protest from Foreign ministry

Saturday May 23 2015

Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule and Chairman Khelef Khalifa address a press conference on May 28, 2015 condemning the government’s move to outlaw their operations.

Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule and Chairman Khelef Khalifa address a press conference on May 28, 2015 condemning the government’s move to outlaw their operations. LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL BORN MAINA
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The Norwegian embassy says it will not stop funding Haki Afrika, a Mombasa-based NGO that the government has links to terrorism.

Norway's ambassador to Kenya Victor Rønneberg said his government will continue supporting Haki Afrika despite a protest letter from the Kenyan government.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry had on May 12 written protest letters to the US, UK and Norwegian governments asking them to stop funding the organisation, whose activities, according to government, “constitute a serious threat to national security and jeopardises government’s efforts in tackling the vice of terrorism”.

“We support the organisations because of their valuable contribution to the realisation of human rights on the Kenyan coast and for their important contribution to countering violent extremism. Norway supports Haki Africa together with the USA and UK and have carried out due diligence on the organisation,” Mr Ronneberg told Sunday Nation.

The ambassador said his country is committed to the fight against terrorism and countering violent extremism and urged the government to embrace the civil society if the threat was to be effectively tackled. 

“We strongly believe these efforts should be done in collaboration with civil society and local stakeholders. Human rights defenders and organisations should not be seen as adversaries in the fight against terrorism,” Mr Ronnenberg said.

He said the embassy had found any evidence showing that Haki Africa or MUHURI have done anything illegal.

“We are in dialogue with the Government of Kenya and encourage the Kenyan authorities to develop a relationship of collaboration and trust with civil society organisations that play a constructive role in countering violent extremism,” he said.

On Friday US ambassador Robert Godec said civil society plays a vital role in the progress of a country.

The government of Kenya has accused Norway of continuing to support Haki Afrika despite the organisation being blacklisted.

“Haki Africa has been operating illegally in the country in direct contravention of NGOs Act,” reads the protest letter.