On 25 February 2014, human rights defender Ms Emily Kwamboka received the latest in a series of threatening calls she has been subjected to since 20 February 2014.
The threats follow an incident where a local politician stormed a meeting she was facilitating and threatened her at gunpoint.
Emily Kwamboka is a grassroots human rights defender from Mathare, a neighbourhood of Nairobi. She was instrumental in creating the Sauti Yetu Political Debates programme, which began initially as a platform for grassroots political debates where aspirants were invited to debate issues relevant to the local community. The debates evolved into accountability forums with elected officials following the Kenyan elections.
Emily Kwamboka had been receiving continuous threats on her mobile phone since 20 February 2014, from people believed to be supporters of a local representative and with warnings such as “if you don’t drop the complaint, we will see who the winner is.” On 25 February the human rights defender turned off her phone to avoid receiving any more threats.
The threats relate to an incident on 20 February 2014, when Emily Kwamboka was facilitating an accountability forum in her constituency. The county ward representative appeared and accused the human rights defender of mobilising local residents to question the operations of the county. As Emily Kwamboka approached the representative to explain what the meeting was actually about, the representative pulled a gun on her and reportedly warned that he knew her and where she lived, and would silence her if she didn’t stop what she was doing. After the incident, Emily Kwamboka decided to report the threat to the police and went into hiding with her children.
Emily Kwamboka had previously met the local representative to assure him that the forums would help him to fulfil his constitutional responsibilities. On that occasion the representative told her that she should stop the forums or he would come for her. At a forum on 13 February 2014, allegations of corruption were made against the politician, and at the Sauti Yetu forum of 20 February 2014, the politician and some of his representatives accused Emily Kwamboka of having organised that forum with a view to discrediting him, and the above-mentioned incident took place.
Front Line Defenders is concerned that the threats against Emily Kwamboka are directly related to her work in defence of human rights, and towards accountability and good governance in Kenya.