Investment without democratic, accountable and human rights-based governance is meaningless.

Investment without democratic, accountable and human rights-based governance is meaningless.

Statement by Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton to the 10th Annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention

Nairobi, 8 December 2023: Greetings and our deepest gratitude to the Kenya Diaspora Alliance for the opportunity to share an opportunity.

For a decade of my life, I was a member of the Kenyan diaspora. As a teenager, I saw the impact of racism firsthand. Arrested while walking black in London, left Black alone as the English education system miseducate 60% of black kids out of employment opportunities. As a father, I saw my children try to hide their Kenyan identity in Maryland in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Today, I fear for the Kenyan diaspora in a world that is dominated by populism, anti-migration xenophobia, rising cost of living and excessive state taxation.

Amnesty International Kenya has been protecting and promoting human rights in Kenya since the 1970s. Many of the social, business and political leaders we protected as Prisoners of Conscience are some of Kenya’s most vibrant and ethical leaders today. Often branded as activists, we hold to the simple truth that all prosperity we can create will be threatened by corruption, all the infrastructure we build will be destroyed by inequality, and no Kenyan is safe unless the Kenya constitution has a country willing to protect it.

Amnesty International Kenya has relied on the international community for the last ten years to fund this work. Over 2024, we are launching a brand-new opportunity for you and Kenyans to contribute to a Public Defenders Fund. A fund that will Back the Brave. The whistle-blowers like Spencer Sankale, who challenged the USD 9 million theft of university students’ school fees or George Muchere, the brave Health Ministry Internal Auditor who exposed systemic and budgeted corruption nearly a decade ago.

In just under 100 hours, Kenya will celebrate the 60th anniversary of our national independence. The anti-colonial struggle is one of the world’s greatest identity-based anti-discrimination struggles. We owe our grandparents, grandparents like Gitu wa Kahengeri, Mau Mau Veterans Association Secretary General, to continue this struggle so that 3-year-old boys like Brighton Sagini will be safe from relatives seeking to de-inherit him or women like Ivy Wangeci murdered by a scorned admirer, or school children like 17-year-old Eugine Muriithi killed during the maandamano protests this year and those targeted because of their identity are safe.

I invite you to meet me or Eunice Obath at the Amnesty stall to learn more about how you can join Amnesty International Kenya and support our work in 2024. We will be visiting both Europe and North America next year, so invite me to come and speak.

Thank you for listening to me, and happy International Human Rights Day on Monday and Jamhuri Day on Wednesday!


For more information on how you can support, contact Eunice Obath on Mobile: +254762242656 | Email: [email protected]