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Assassination of Kenya human rights defenders

Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and other Kenyan CSOs

2009-03-05, Issue 422

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© Oscar Foundation
This evening, two leading human rights defenders, Mr. Oscar Kamau King’ara and Mr. John Paul Oulu (also known as GPO), both of Oscar Foundation, were executed in cold blood by a group of men in two vehicles. The two were driving to meet Mr. Kamanda Mucheke of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights at his office. Eyewitnesses have said that the assassins were policemen. In fact, the minibus driver was in police uniform.

An eyewitness at the scene was also shot in the leg and was later taken away from the scene by policemen. We are calling upon the police to reveal the whereabouts of this man since he might be the only one who can positively identify both the assassins and their vehicles. Therefore, we fear for his life.

Oscar was a trained lawyer and a human rights advocate who was the Chief Executive Officer of Oscar Foundation. He was a member of the Law Society of Kenya.

Mr. GPO Oulu was a former student leader, and an educationist who has worked for many human rights organizations, including the Youth Agenda. He left the Youth Agenda recently to join the Oscar Foundation as the Communications and Advocacy Officer.

Oscar Foundation is a registered charitable organization that offers free legal services to the poor. Some of its major projects include organizing caravans to offer free legal aid to the poor around the country. They have a strong track record researching corruption in the police force, the prisons, and police brutality against the urban poor. The latest activity was researching and documenting cases of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings.

The Oscar Foundation has been a major source of information to Parliament on atrocities playing out against the poor in the country. On February 18, 2009, before Parliament debated the motion on extra-Judicial killings, he presented Oscar Foundation’s findings on ongoing extra judicial killings to Hon. Peter Mwathi, the motion’s mover. Their last engagement with Parliament was a presentation to the Kioni Committee investigating organized gangs a couple of days ago.

We believe they were killed because of the sensitive information they had shared with both the Prof. Philip Alston the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and with the MPs.

Where we are in Kenya today is where the Jews were in Nazi Germany shortly before the Holocaust. The Nazis stage-managed a smear campaign that made the public hate the Jews and allow for their extermination.

During the Emergency the colonial government hired collaborators to commit atrocities which they blamed on the Mau Mau to give them a bad name so that they could exterminate them.

We hold the Government Spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua complicit in the two murders for making wild allegations that the Oscar Foundation was a civil society front for Mungiki, and they were going to deal with it. What does he know about the assassinations? Was this what he meant by dealing with the Oscar Foundation?

As we condole with the families of the deceased, we assure them, and the nation that their deaths are not in vain.

Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and other Kenyan Civil Society Organisations

Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.

The time has come to understand that life is diminishing though this time artificially. Human Rights Defenders in Kenya have been exposed to threats majorly by government executing agencies. The predicted death of GPO Oulu , my brother and a colleague at Youth Agenda puts the country on notice to end impunity and the escalating rate of extrajudicial killings on activists.
"They will kill the body but not the spirit. Rest in Peace. One day we shall rejoice even if its in the grave", yours comrade.

Kevin Ogema ICJ Kenya

Violence – in all its many forms – is abhorrent to all who believe human life is a gift of God and therefore infinitely precious. Every attempt to intimidate others by inflicting indiscriminate death and injury upon them is to be universally condemned. The answer to Criminal gangs (Mungiki or death squads) however, cannot be to respond in kind, for this can lead to more violence and more terror. Instead, a concerted effort of all people is needed to remove any possible justification for such acts.Acts of violence are criminal acts, and should be addressed by the use of the instruments of the rule of law


it's a shame. Maybe Kibaki should be taken to the Hague because this are the likes of Charles Taylor and Mugabe. Using the force to kill innocent kenyans for no good reason: a case should be filed to the ICC so that the evil minded people we have can learn, Its clear that the Idiot spokesperson mutua new about the killing and he kept his word "we will deal with them"

michael hallonsa

Its saddening to read of such beasty acts by fellow human beings,trying to cover up there sins,why can the same organ of government(the police)do the job they are supposed to do,which is to protect people.It now talks volume when one Kiraithe(police spokesman)say that they dismiss the finding of extra judicial killings,rather than take the opportunity to change now n be judged by history they played a role to change,let the read about the Nazi,today no one want to associate with it n with Hitla,even wearing the Nazi logo or anything nazi is out of fashion,no being wants to associate themselves with.I see a time when the this chapter of our Kenyan history will be remembered always and we will say Kibaki and hi government did nothing to protect the people.rather they propagated the killings of people,we cant judge if they were quilty or innocent,as thats the work the courts,this says there is alot that is rotten in our mother country Kenya,they may kill,but they will never kill the desire,the dreams of a better Kenya,and we shall hold them responsible,we may not have money,but they cant also refuse the brothers,sisters,wives,friends of the people killed not to remember them,so let them know for the 2 candles they put off,there shall be more candles lit,and the light shall illuminate the darkness n we shall see them for who they are.this is very stupid,very stupid n unfortunate.

jacob wachira

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