By ZEDEKIAH ADIKA
(Advocate for Kituo Cha Sheria and chair of Coast Civil Society Reference Group)
We received with utter shock the news of the demise of three Kenyans in the hand of Kenya Police at Lessos Nandi County.
This comes in the wake of similar killings in Kwale County three weeks ago, where three Kenyans lost their lives and a pregnant woman shot at; epitomizing the dungeon of police excesses.
On 2nd June, 2020, Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) reported that police brutality had claimed 15 lives and left 31 seriously injured since the dawn of coronavirus in the country.
We condemn these cowardly actions by an institution entrusted with ensuring law and order in the Nation.
The greatest concern for us, however, is the casual way in which the government is handling these atrocities.
Police spokesperson Charles Owino in his responses to the media neither shows remorse nor intent to deal with this emerging issue in defense of the oppressive victims.
The Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai is yet to make serious and consistent institutional alterations despite glaring rot in the service. The National Police Service Commission is grotesquely soundless.
Their actions deviate from human rights based approached espoused under article 244 of the Constitution of Kenya, the objects and functions of National Police Service. IPOA and Office Director Public Prosecutions (ODPP) have very little results to show from the deaths reported.
The pace and quality of investigations and ultimate prosecution by the institutions frowns at the severity of the vice. The score card is dismal for the NPS.
The Presidency and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government looks helpless as families are raging in pain, anger and misery at the vicious attack of their loved ones.
NO COMPASSION NO COMPENSATION
Neither compassion nor compensation is coming their way as a means of reciprocation for the maimed or lost members. It must not be lost on us that we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
The only justification for repressive interventions like wearing masks and the curfew is to curb the spread of the invasive virus but the continued brute by police flies right in the eye of this primary intention.
Police should be sensitive to the fact that times are difficult for all Kenyans and they must operate within the confines of the law. They should also stop using excessive force when dispersing protesting Kenyans.
The world has never known a better time deserving of compassion, respect for the rule of law and upholding human rights by all, but more so by those entrusted to implement mitigating measures of COVID 19.
Death of citizens in the hands of the police must not be normalized in whichever circumstances in the ‘new normal’ era.
The Coast Civil Society Reference Group (Network) condoles with all families affected and demands for immediate action by the President and the National Assembly.
To secure justice for the families of the victims, there is urgent need to overhaul the top police brass so as to regain the confidence of the citizens in policing.