VIDEO: Baptism by Fire: Kenya’s HRDs and the Post-Election Violence

No single narrative explains the wave of violence that swept through Kenya after the disputed elections of December 2007. Some observers maintain that it was an organised effort by politicians. Others point at the deep ethnic and social divides that were cultivated during the colonial period. Whatever combination of factors contributed to the crisis, ultimately they led to the killing of as many as 1.500 people and displacement of another 600.000.

This video follows several Kenyan human rights defenders forced to step away from their country following tensions surrounding their country’s post-election violence, and the long-lasting impact the event had on Kenyan civil society through the creation of the Kenyan National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders.

Production of this video has been made possible with the generous support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Austrian Development Cooperation.

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Human Rights Defender of the Month: Anny Kapenga

As a young student, Anny Kapenga used to cringe at the cult-like worship of Mobutu Sese Seko, the then Zaire’s President. By then, in the early 1990s, Zaire was still under one party rule, and calls were increasing for Mobutu to open political space to allow other parties to operate. In the meantime, however, all Zairians were expected to show affection for Mobutu wherever they gathered in public.

Students across Zaire’s schools were required to sing and dance adoringly before his (Mobutu)’s portrait every morning before they went to class, and all school scholastic materials were emblemed with his portrait. A young Anny never really appreciated the obsession:

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