The Kenya chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), a global anti-imperialist alliance, vehemently denounces the illegal raid of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) office and the arrest of 12 members of the party.
The raid and arrest show the Kenyatta regime’s blatant disregard for freedom of association, expression and assembly. They are desperate attempts to silence critics of the government’s ineffective and callous response to the Covid-19 pandemic and exposes the government’s fear of the people.
“The raid of the CPK office and the arrests of its members is most revolting because it violates important rights, and comes during a pandemic. The government should heed the demands of the Kenyan working people, not silence organizations that are amplifying those demands,” said Mr. Lewis Maghanga, ILPS Kenya co-convenor.
As of April 11, 2021, Kenya already has 146,000 positive cases of Coronavirus infection and 2,348 deaths. On March 26, this year the government reimposed a lockdown in the “disease-infected areas” of the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru.
In an interview, Maghanga stated that the League also supports the call of the workers of the hotel and entertainment industries for the government to lift the lockdown, expand contact tracing, conduct free mass testing and vaccination, and other medical interventions.
The government-imposed lockdown last year caused the unemployment rate to double and the country’s important tourism sector was practically wiped out. People have been forced to stay at home, jobs have been lost, and one-third of businesses have closed. Poverty increased by another 4% affecting an additional 2 million people. Hunger has become more widespread. Maghanga said that “during this time of crisis, the government’s priority should be the health and economic welfare of the people.”
The ILPS also supports the CPK’s call for the repudiation of the IMF loan which favors only the rich and powerful Kenyan families including that of the president’s. While the loan aims to aid big businesses to get back to their feet, the people have received nothing to ease hunger and poverty.
Again, the people are being asked to bail out big businesses from the current recession. It is they who will pay the principal and the interest of the loan through their taxes. The loan comes at an inopportune moment when government debt is at a critical level.
The ILPS demands that the court drop the charges against the CPK 12. It is one with the Kenyan people in calling on the government to implement an effective and pro-people response to the health and economic crises that the nation is facing.
Lewis Maghanga +254719269473