Fazul Mohamed's sword now targets AfriCOG

Tuesday August 15 2017

Africog Executive Director Gladwell Otieno. FILE PHOTO

Africog Executive Director Gladwell Otieno. NGOs Coordination Board says her non-profit is not registered. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By STELLA CHERONO
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A day after deregistering the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the NGOs Coordinating Board now wants the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) shut down.

The board, in a letter to Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, alleges AfriCOG has been operating illegally because it “is not registered under the NGOs Coordination Act 1990 as required by law”.

LAW

“AfriCOG is and continues to operate as a charitable organisation in direct contravention of Section 22 (of NGOs Co-ordination Act 1990 )which according to the Act is an offence punishable by law,” NGO Coordination Board Executive Director Fazul Mohamed says in the letter.

He also quotes Regulation 75 of the Act and the attendant regulation, which requires all organisations engaging in charitable activities to rescind their various registrations and obtain registration.

“The purpose of this communication therefore is to urge your office to move with speed to close down the operations of this organisation and further arrest the directors and members of AfriCOG, for contravening the foregoing provision; and with a view to arraigning and prosecuting them in a competent court of law,” Mr Mohamed says.

Mr Mohamed further instructs all the directors of AfriCOG to cease all operations with immediate effect until the organisation acquires a certificate of registration.

POLL LINK

And just like he did with the Kenya Human Rights Commission case, Mr Mohamed asks the Central Bank of Kenya to freeze all bank accounts belonging to AfriCOG.

The board’s moves have touched off a storm and earned it serious lashing on social media, with several critics suggesting that it is frustrating NGOs purported to have reproached the government before, during and after recently concluded General Election.

Just before the August 8 polls, AfriCOG Executive Director Gladwell Otieno had asked the courts to compel the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to open up the voters register for public scrutiny.

She partly won the battle after the commission told the court that the register was already open online.

On Aug 12, KHRC Chairman Makau Mutua, who is also among the founders of the rights watchdog, tweeted that he would never recognise the re-election of President Kenyatta.

He said, “The sins of 2013 have been compounded. That’s why as a matter of my conscience I can't - and won't - recognise Uhuru Kenyatta as president”.

COURT

After the notice of deregistration of the commission, Prof Mutua said Mr Mohamed had no legal authority to deregister KHRC as the “High Court last year rejected these false charges and ordered him to cease and desist”.

Judge Onguto faulted the NGOs Coordination Board for wrongfully deregistering the commission as well as threatening an investigation against it.

Earlier in the month, the board deregistered an NGO associated with Rosemary Odinga, daughter of ODM leader Raila Odinga, and recommended that its account be frozen.

Mr Fazul Mohamed wrote to the chairperson of Key Empowerment Foundation Kenya to say it had been de-listed on August 4.

Ealier, Mr Mohamed, whose academic papers are in question, froze the accounts of the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation, dissolving its board for alleged failure to account for Sh196 million.

The Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation has since sued the board.

Mr Mohamed has continued to run the NGOs board even after being declared unfit to hold public office.