14 Sept 2019 I will be on the first of a series of Mountain Hikes in support of #ClimbForJustice a campaign by Defenders Coalition that aims to raise funds to finance human rights defenders work by setting up a Centre for wellness, research, training and creativity.

Defenders Coalition Mt Longonot
Defenders Coalition Mt Longonot

Beatings and Teargas – A Part of Peaceful Protests:

Most Kenyans remember pigs being delivered to parliament to symbolize MP’s greed. No one remembers the beatings, the teargas and the arrest of 17 protestors. 17 people.Prof. Yash Pal Ghai, who was part of the protest, went to speak to the police, with the constitution in his hand, and they rudely retorted, “that’s a piece of paper here”.

When the 17 of us were arrested and arraigned, my wife cried. She cried because we did not have money for bail. She cried because among the 17 was my friend’s wife, who was newly married. When the court said we could be released on bail, we could not afford the bail money.

A senator at the time, now a governor, came to secure our release, but we declined his offer. That was the moment an institution that l never knew existed, Defenders Coalition , stepped in. They provided lawyers, paid our cash bail. Six years later they’re still paying lawyers to defend Human Rights Defenders. Our matter is still in court.

Teargas and pressure water used to disperse the protests
Teargas and pressure water used to disperse the protests

Bail isn’t for the rich only – Defenders Coalition

In many protests, when someone has been arrested, the coalition has bailed them out. Across this country, Defenders Coalition is known by the police, activists, lawyers and journalists because of the important work they do.

When Kenyan mainstream journalists have done an investigative story, and they face threats, they first call the coalition before they report to the police. Defenders Coalition is an institution that has existed for the past twelve years, supporting human rights defenders facing risks in the fight for justice.

They provide emergency response, protection, relocation, skills and knowledge development to journalists and human rights defender, as well as advocacy for a conducive legal policy environment for defenders.

Defenders Coalition Team - Climb Mount kenya
Defenders Coalition Team – Climb Mount kenya

About the Defenders Coalition:

The Defenders Coalition is a national, membership organization established in 2007 and registered under Kenyan law as a Trust to champion the safety, security and wellbeing of human rights defenders (HRDs).

The Coalition works primarily for the protection of HRDs in Kenya. Among others, the Coalition strengthens capacities of HRDs to work more effectively, besides advocating for favourable legal, policy and institutional environments in order to reduce their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and or harm.

The membership of the Coalition includes Kenyan human rights organizations and individual HRDs. Defenders Coalition is on its part a member of various networks regionally and globally. These include among others Defend Defenders, formerly, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, World in Action, and CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

Further, the Coalition has observer status with the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR). Regionally, the NCHRD-K has strategic partnerships with a broad array of civil society initiatives, movements and actors.

Defenders Coalition
Boniface Mwangi beaten by police during the MPigs protest
Boniface Mwangi beaten by police during the MPigs protest

What to do as a Beneficiary of Activism:

If you have been the beneficiary of any form of activism, in the present or in the past, please support them. They defend those who protest and defend our rights.

They have secured many people and kept them safe. One time when my family’s life was at risk, they provided protection and kept my wife and children safe. l speak for myself and my family and l hope others who have benefited will do the same.

Police arrest protesters during the MPIG protest - Defenders Coalition
Police arrest protesters during the MPIG protest

Climb for Justice Campaign by Defenders Coalition:

Defenders Coalition is running a campaign, dubbed “Climb For Justice”. They want to raise money to build a center that will be a safe and recuperating space for defenders; a wellness, training and research center for Human Rights Defenders.

Their campaign is fun. In an effort to consolidate and expand their work, the Coalition seeks to raise 50 million Kenya shillings. They are organizing a climb up Mount Kenya in December.Prior to this, they have planned some other exciting activities that include climbing Mt. Longonot, in Naivasha, this Saturday, September 14, hiking the William Hill in Keraita, on October 5, and hiking up Elephant Hill at the Aberdare ranges on November 16.

Protesters peacefully hold placards - Defenders Coalition
Protesters peacefully hold placards

Prior to this, they have planned some other exciting activities that include climbing Mt. Longonot, in Naivasha, this Saturday, September 14, hiking the William Hill in Keraita, on October 5, and hiking up Elephant Hill at the Aberdare ranges on November 16.

The cost for each climb is Sh3,000. The cost covers, transport to & from, professional guides, park entrance fees and a light lunch. On Sunday, October 20th at Alliance Francaisé, from 3 – 8 pm, there will be a Human Rights Concert.

Now you know who helps keep me and my family and many other defenders (that you call activists) safe. It is a Kenyan institution, run by Kenyans for a better Kenya for all.

Children have joined the fight for Justice:

Our 8-year-old son will be the youngest climber and he will be joined by his two siblings (our 9-year-old daughter and our 12-year-old son). Let’s fight for this country together. We invite you to support the Defender’s Coalition by joining the climb. You can also support us as we #ClimbForJustice by sending your donation now to Paybill no. 810896 Account: BM Family

For more information about the full expedition to Mt Kenya, please reach the coalition on 0716 200100. Hiking is a great physical exercise as well as a great social experience when doing it with people of like mind. See you up Mt. Longonot this Saturday. #ClimbForJustice. cc Nchrd Kenya

Climbing Mount kenya for Justice
Climbing Mount kenya for Justice

How you can Climb for Justice:

14 Sept 2019 I will be on the first of a series of Mountain Hikes in support of #ClimbForJustice a campaign by Nchrd Kenya that aims to raise funds to finance human rights defenders work by setting up a Centre for wellness, research, training and creativity.

You can register to join in the pre-climbs at Longonot (tomorrow 14 Sept), William Hill Keraita on 5th Oct and Elephant Hill Aberdare on Nov 16 before summitting Mount Kenya between 7 and 12 December. Contact 0716200100 or support a climber by sending a donation via Mpesa Pay Bill #810896 Account (your name). A very exciting opportunity to #StandUp4HumanRights

Defenders Coalition