Otsieno Namwaya (@ONamwaya) is East Africa Director at Human Rights Watch. He has been the Kenya researcher at Human Rights Watch since 2012. He published research in 2018 on the obstacles that activists face when campaigning on the environmental and health effects of government development projects at the Kenyan coast. Namwaya has primarily focused on accountability for security forces in response to terrorist attacks. He has documented abuses, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, in Nairobi and at the coast. Soon after the 2013 general elections, he documented gang violence in western Kenya and the failure of the Kenyan security to respond or protect villagers and police failure to adequately investigate and prosecute the perpetrators. Namwaya has examined abuses by security forces in response to gun and grenade attacks in Kenya’s northeast as well as a government crackdown on human rights in respect to counterterrorism. He also has monitored legal and administrative restrictions on media and civil society.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Namwaya was a human rights activist as well as reporter and editor with The Standard and Nation newspapers in Kenya. He also was a senior researcher with South Consulting Africa Ltd, during which he monitored the implementation of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation agreement that ended the violence that followed the disputed presidential elections of December 2007.
He holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry, a postgraduate diploma in journalism, and a master’s degree in environmental science.