HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL KENYA [HLI (K)]
SUBMITTED TO THE
HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL (HLI) KENYA
29TH JULY, 2009
The report addresses four (4) issues as follows:
- Human Life International (Kenya) Appears Before the Committee of Experts (CoE) on Constitutional Review (20th – 25th July, 2009)
- Trade Fair
- Registration Status
- Strategic Plan
A. Human Life International (Kenya) Appears Before the Committee of Experts (CoE) on Constitutional Review (20th – 25th July, 2009)
The itinerary of the Committee of Experts (CoE) around the country to collect views on contentious issues took place from 20th – 25th July, 2009. At a short public notice in the press, Kakeeto and I had to work around the clock with an attempt to ensure that HLI (K) be represented at all the stations that the Experts went to.
i. I assembled a HLI (K) position document/paper (see the attached) which I signed officially as the council chair. The intention was to have the same official voice/script heard from all the corners of the country from Mombasa through Nyeri and Nairobi up to Kakamega. This we did. With the help of Kakeeto this document was electronically distributed all over with express instructions that it could be read verbatim before the experts within the allowance of the three minutes.
ii. We were well presented with firm voices throughout the country with the exception of Lodwar, Narok, Garissa and Isiolo. In all, we covered fourteen (14) stations out of the eighteen (18), and this to us is a step in the right direction.
iii. Survey reports through cell phone calls indicate very successful encounters. It is evident that an impact has been made and a firm message communicated that Kenyans are alert and watching. For instance:
a) From Meru, our pro-life voice was powerfully heard from a woman (Trizah) who competently articulated our position paper.
b) Both at the KICC and Kitui, the Anti-life advocate on the CoE (Njoki Ndungu) met the fierce combined pro-life and Muslim opposition; in Kitui for example, after an articulate presentation of our position paper Njoki Ndung’u rose to interject that we (pro-lifers) are insisting that life begins at conception yet Muslims hold it to begin after forty (40) days. The Muslims in the room revolted forcing the other experts to intervene for calm. No doubt, this means we won.
i. Resource mobilization
· Challenges faced in this process largely had to do with the ability to mobilize resource (both on the human and material levels) effectively and efficiently. Firstly, we ran into the challenge of assembling people/voices for all the eighteen (18) stations around the country. There is always the issue of us not having full time pro-life activists hence this involved trying to get pro-lifers around the country to sacrifice their time from their busy working schedules at a very short notice. This was quite commendable.
· Secondly, financial challenges arose but not to the magnitude of the first challenge above. We were able to put together some little financial sacrifices that saw us send and communicate around the clock with pro-lifers around the various stations.
All together, I appreciate the determined efforts made by all pro-lifers and especially for quickly rising up at various corners as they were called upon to defend human life. We made a point that cannot be ignored by the CoE.
ii. Sheer opposition and indifference of the CoE towards the pro-life position on the right to life clause
· The CoE had clearly stated what they considered to be the “contentious issues” (executive, constitutional transition clauses and devolution) leaving out other clauses that many Kenyans pointed out to be contentious, including the clause on the right to life (in the bill of rights). Initially, I had thought this to be merely on account of inadvertence and that the CoE needed to be educated. As I sat down to prepare our position paper write-up, this remained my conviction. It was until I appeared before the CoE in Kakamega (just before the completion of our paper), that I got convinced that this omission of the right to life clause among the contentious issues was indeed deliberate.
· The “lead-expert” at Kakamega (a lady - Chesoni) categorically engaged me firmly indicating that the clause in question was not contentious since it was already agreed among most Kenyans that abortion was not to be accepted. During my presentation (which was enshrined in the written submission - see the attached document) I argued to know why there was a sharp contrast between the Bomas and the Wako/Kilifi drafts. I learnt that this is one question that the CoE takes every effort to avoid.
· The same experience was replicated at Eldoret and some other places. Thanks to the evangelical pastors whom I joined at Eldoret and circulated out position document to. They came out very candidly and warned the CoE that on this one particular clause on the right to life, they were ready to mobilize their followers to vote against the constitution irrespective of how good other clauses would be.
i. It is evident that “the world” knows, and indeed all those pushing for the legalization of abortion in Kenya do recognize beyond any doubt that Kenyans do not welcome the legalization of abortion in Kenya.
ii. This explains why this issue is not categorized among the contentious issues because the Kenyans ( by large) would get an opportunity to reaffirm their pro-life position. The silence is meant to deflect their attention from the issue to other issues (put forth as contentious) as abortion is silently pushed through. We must be awake and vigilant. Note that a lady lawyer in Eldoret who gave a presentation arguing that the clause” life begins at conception be removed from the constitution” was listened to while those who argued for the pro-life position received opposition from the Committee of experts.
iii. The church leaders may be used to cover up the push for abortion. It was evident that our pro-life submissions met responses from the Committee of experts insisting that our bishops and other church leaders had been talked to and that abortion has been ruled out, but why couldn’t the bishops be talked to about other contentious issues also.
* We must bring our church leaders especially the pro-life priests to speak candidly about the right to life in the constitution making process.
There is a need to re-consolidate our pro-life presence around the country. Without this unified approach, the enemy could strike at any time. Nevertheless, the responses received underscored the fact that the pro-life seed planted over the years lives on at all corners of Kenya. Thanks
B. Trade Fair
As pointed out in an earlier email, I have been monitoring progress in this direction. And as you may be aware from Muroki’s email, we received the invoice (of Kshs 100,000/=) and got the assurance that we will maintain our usual stand –at the Nairobi International Trade fair show. Generally everything is under control.
Action: I have given the relevant organizational instruction to various people as follows:
(1) Kakeeto picked the invoice from Muroki. The intention is that both Kakeeto and Gichini have been instructed to take over on behalf of the council (from Muroki). They should do the actual payment and attend the briefing meetings on our behalf.
(2) Gatimu and Fr. Mwaniki will be in Nairobi around this weekend to make sure that they provide the check with the correct address. I have instructed them to keep copies of both the invoice and the cheque for records and ascertain that we get the intended stand.
(3) On the overall I expect the payments to be made latest by Tuesday (4th August 2009).
C. Registration Status
Regarding the registration of HLI (K), I have been in communication with Mugambi and there are indications that substantial progress has been made. In essence, we are only waiting upon you as had been agreed at one council meeting. Below is a detailed status account:
At the registrar of societies, we are informed that we need two documents:
i. A copy of HLI’s registration certificate (or whatever document it could be if not a certificate) detailing the year of registration.
ii. A copy of a fresh affiliation certificate/document between HLI and HLI (K) take note that it appears to us (Mugambi and I):
- that initially, there existed an affiliation between HLI and Pro-life Kenya
- that legally we may not use the same affiliation since Pro-life Kenya as such does not exist any more and that in its place “we would like HLI (K) to exist”
Thus, legally, it must be seen that HLI recognizes this new existence [HLI (K)] and endorses its domestication by way of an express affiliation certificate/document.
Action & Way forward
Given my discussions with Mugambi over this matter (of registration), I propose that either copies of these two documents can be obtained and brought along with you on your return home or you could as well send us the scanned copies of the same which will make us proceed to the final stage of registration ahead of your coming.
D. Strategic Plan
Following the last council deliberations, the strategic plan document is in its final draft stages (currently being fine-tuned by Richard Kakeeto). In a period of about two week, we should have a blue-print of the same.
Dated 29th July, 2009
COUNCIL CHAIR,Human Life International (HLI) Kenya