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IGDC Research Seminar: The perils and possibilities of human rights advocacy in Africa: Experiences from Kenya, Uganda & Zimbabwe
January 15, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Speaker(s): Wanjeri Nderu, Johncation Muhindo & Prosper Tiringindi, Centre for Applied Human Rights
Dr Alan Msosa will frame this session with a brief discussion of the difficulties of translating the discourse of human rights across contexts.
Activism and Self-care in Kenya’s Hybrid Regime
Kenya’s body politic is a fiercely contested space, with very active media and civil society sectors, but a state that often undermines the political rights and civil liberties of citizens and activists. Extra-judicial killings occur with concerning regularity, including the torture and murder of Chris Msando, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) member in charge of the vote-counting system just days before the 2017 election. In this context, as activists push the boundaries of what the state will accept and use legal challenges and public protest to advocate for more accountable and responsive governance, the burden placed upon human rights defenders and their families can be substantial. Wanjeri Nderu will focus on the opportunities and challenges of human rights advocacy in Kenya, and the personal consequences of such work.
Activism and Rights in South Western Uganda
Uganda has endured a turbulent political trajectory, and has never seen a peaceful political transition since independence in 1962. The present hybrid regime of Yoweri Museveni captured power through a military insurgency in 1986 and has maintained it through corruption, flawed elections, militarism and support from the west – initially as an ardent ‘reformer’ and later in the context of the ‘war on terror.’ Johncation Muhindo, an activist from Uganda, will discuss the closing civic space, patronage, corruption and maintaining relations with the west as tools for regime survival as well as the ever-increasing cost of civic and political dissent in Uganda.
Fighting for Justice and the Rule of Law under Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution
The 2013 constitution and the declaration of rights contained therein is considered to be an improvement insofar as it guarantees equal treatment of citizens under the law. Further, Zimbabwe agreed to take all appropriate legal and administrative measures to bring justice to the people and to enhance the competence of the courts. But despite these positive moves, various laws continue to be applied by the state to clamp down on civil liberties, and these laws are selectively applied to Human Rights Defenders and those perceived to be supporters of opposition parties. This presentation will discuss the difficulties but also successes of human rights advocacy in Zimbabwe.
Location: YH/110, Research Centre for Social Sciences
Telephone: 01904 321043