Kituo Cha Sheria condemns massive Human Rights Violations and Police Brutality on Civilians

KITUO LOGO with Legal Advice Centre

Kituo Cha Sheria condemns massive Human Rights Violations and Police Brutality on Civilians following the Just Ended 2017 Presidential Elections

Kituo Cha Sheria is deeply concerned by the lethal force and brutality meted out on unarmed protesters by the police as well as the armed forces following the just ended 2017 presidential election in Kenya.

The deployed police applied unwarranted force and brutality to quell unrest in various parts of the country following the declaration by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won the recently concluded General Election.

Kituo Cha Sheria asserts that the use of violent and unjust measures by the security agents and police by way of: live bullets on protesters among others in; Mathare North Area 1, 2, 4 and 10, Nyamasaria, Kibos, Kondele, Nyalenda, Obunga and Kibera is unlawful and unacceptable.

Kituo is a custodian of Access to Justice for the poor and marginalized and condemns this high handedness in the strongest terms possible.

We have reports from our community based paralegals all over the country documenting up to 24 bodies with gunshot wounds including: a young man, who was shot dead at Dayo in Kisumu West. The deceased’s mother, Milka Amigo, and area MCA, Paul Okiri, have since confirmed the death.

Despite the confirmation above, Kisumu County Police Commander Titus Yoma alongside Nyanza Regional Coordinator Wilson Njenga denied these as factual.

Innocent children have not been spared either by this brutality, considering: the sad case of a ten year old who succumbed to reckless police shootings in Mathare. It is disheartening to learn that police even break into homes (as is documented by a paralegal from the Nyando Community Justice Center) and lob teargas in residential structures so as to draw Kenyans out and torture them indiscriminately including children as young as the 6 month old Samantha Pendo, who suffered critical injuries and later passed on as a result of police torture in Kisumu.

Simmering tension and fear of attacks from the dreaded militia still remains rife especially in Lucky Summer, Obama, Kayole, Kisumu and Mathare. We call upon the security agencies and political actors to rise to the occasion and contain this situation.

We remind you of the Constitution of Kenya, Article 244(a) which states that; The National Police Service shall strive for the highest standards of professionalism and discipline among its members and thus call upon the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to move with speed and investigate and hold responsible, individual officers who are committing these heinous operations.

Kituo Cha Sheria appeals to political leaders to reign in on their supporters with a message of tolerance and peace. Kituo Cha Sheria also reminds citizens that they have the right to express themselves through picketing and demonstrations as prescribed under Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya, but they must be peaceful and unarmed.

We remind all Kenyans of the national values of social justice, rule of law, democracy, human rights and non-discrimination to help us forge a united and a prosperous Kenya.

Gertrude Angote-Executive Director

Kituo Cha Sheria

Advertisements

What Can Seasonal Workers Do When Their Employment Ends?

olu-eletu-38649

Tourism and agriculture are two of the largest contributors to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Kenya. Yet, both industries are cyclical. Seasonal workers are brought in during tourist season or when it’s time to harvest the crops, and then, they are let go when demand slows down. What options are available to seasonal workers when their work is done?

The Employment Act of 2007

In 2007, Kenya’s Parliament enacted five labour laws: The Occupational Safety and Health Act, Work Injury Benefits Act, Labour Relations Act, Labour Institutions Act, and the Employment Act. Their aim was to improve the environment for workers, trade unions, and employees. They repealed and replaced the previous six core labour laws and brought them into conformity with the current demands and challenges of international labour standards and national development.

The Employment Act put a number of laws on the books that protected workers of all types. Unfortunately, Kenya does not currently have any provision in the law for unemployment benefits or insurance. This applies to workers of all types, including full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, and so on.

The Potential for Unemployment Benefits Is There

In 2012, with the call for expansion of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), talk of introducing unemployment benefits came to the forefront. The NSSF is the public pension services provider that more than one million Kenyan workers pay into. Once contributors to the fund retire and reach a certain age threshold, they can start collecting on the pension.

When NSSF was discussing raising fees on its contributors, it announced that it intended to introduce unemployment benefits to members who lost their jobs. The reasoning behind potentially introducing the payments was to help members cover expenses – including utility bills, food, and rent – in the event that they unexpectedly lost their job. Numbers announced at the time included paying Sh10,000 per month for half a year.

At the time, officials believed the unemployment benefits bill would be introduced by 2015. However, as of today, we are still waiting for unemployment benefits. Seasonal workers were not mentioned at all at the time of the chatter about unemployment, so it remains unclear whether this would be a viable option for them.

Trade Unions May Be the Best Bet Moving Forward

The question of whether seasonal workers should receive unemployment is a tough one since most of the employees go into the work knowing that it is temporary, and they are usually paid handsomely. If you are aseasonal worker, you should not expect unemployment insurance to help you during the offseason. Instead, you might consider being a serial seasonal worker with a different job for each season.

In the meantime, with the Labour Relations Act, it is possible for trade unions to offer their members unemployment benefits. Currently, this is not a common practice, and again, it is unlikely it would benefitseasonal workers. Yet, unions in other countries have used dues and other collections to help members through a rough patch caused by the loss of work.

There Are Some Benefits Available

While there may be no unemployment benefits available for the near future, you do have specific rights that you are guaranteed thanks to Kenya’s labour laws. Specifically, the Employment Act of 2007 sets down the rules for Terminal Benefits. These are the final entitlements a worker is to receive upon termination of their employment contract (which are required for any jobs longer than three months).

Once your employment contract is terminated, you are entitled to the following:

  • ·         Severance pay (if applicable)
  • ·         Remuneration for work done prior to termination
  • ·         Certificate of Service
  • ·         Any notice pay due
  • ·         Leave pay due to the worker that had not yet been used

According to the Employment Act, severance pay is only due to an employee if their job is rendered redundant. This is when the employer terminates your employment involuntarily because your job is considered superfluous. You cannot get severance pay if you quit or if you engaged in misconduct. If you do qualify for severance pay, you get the equivalent of fifteen days of basic wages for every year of employment you have completed.

By:

Writing Jackie.

About Unemployment.org

http://aboutunemployment.org/unemployment-rules-seasonal-workers/

How to Deal with a False Accusation

Facing a false accusation is one of the scariest things anybody can experience in their lives. And what’s worst is that false accusations can come by complete surprise, catching the accused completely off guard. But there are some things everybody can do to protect themselves from false accusations and have them dismissed. Here are some tips in case you end up in that situation.

Understand the Magnitude of False Accusation

When you are wrongly abused, you may have the reflex of brushing these accusations as some sort of sick joke. But false accusations are very serious and should never be taken lightly. Many people end up being in denial of the accusations and think that they are not that important. But what you do in the early changes is of capital importance and might have serious implications in the future.

Make Sure You are Ready to Handle Defense Costs

Unfortunately, whether you are rightly accused or not, you will have to handle your defense. This will usually mean hiring someone with a masters in criminal justice. If you are strapped for cash, you can always opt for someone with an online masters in criminal justice to provide assistance or a public defender if you are eligible for one. In any case, you should only decide to represent yourself if you have no other choice and you feel like you have the competence to do so.

Make Sure You Use Documentation to Your Advantage

Documentation can be of great help in defending your case. Documenting each and every part of your case can be very helpful for you and your defense attorney(s). Make sure every event associated with the false accusation is clearly documented and in as much detail as possible. If you’re not sure a particular piece of information could help your case, make sure you inform you defense attorney.

Make Sure You Educate Yourself as Much as You Can

Even if you’re being represented by the best defense attorney, it’s always better to educate yourself about the whole process as much as possible. You simply won’t be able to defend yourself as efficiently if you don’t understand every aspect of a court case in details. If your team asks you to do something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can gather your information from many sources, law libraries, not for profit organizations, and websites that provide legal advice. Informed defendants have more chances of winning their cases, so make sure that you do everything you can to find out as much as you can about your case and its implications.

Conclusion

False accusations are never easy, but you can increase your chances of fighting them if you move correctly. Make sure that you learn as much as you can about your case and educate yourself about the whole process. Use documentation to your advantage and record anything of value pertaining to your case. Be prepared to handle the cost of your defense, and last, but not least, never downplay the seriousness of false accusations.