Police Brutality is a No! But so is Reckless Demonstration

Posted by on 20th May 2016

Categories:   Uncategorized

This week the country was treated to horrific pictures of police brutality reminiscent of the “Nyayo days”. When the police appeared to be a law unto themselves. The name General Service Unit (GSU) evoked fears that could chill your spine.

It is not clear yet how the “peaceful demonstrations” against IEBC, as CORD terms it, turned so ugly and quickly. But, as expected fingers point to police’s overreaction. Perhaps, the Law Society of Kenya puts it better, that, the police show lack of training and inability to handle unruly demonstrators professionally.

“.. The police must be trained to efficiently and safely extract from lawful protests those whose behavior falls outside Article 37 in a manner that respects even such persons’ unlimited right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 25(a)).” LSK said in reference to the unorthodox use of force during the IEBC demonstrations.

It is not lost to the country that not so long ago, Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) launched investigations over GSU policemen. There were allegations of them using excessive force and raping rioting University of Nairobi students. Additionally, it’s still vivid in our minds how police teargassed Lang’ata Primary School pupils. Our men in uniform appear to be less and less interested in the rule of law.

This is worrying trend, especially as we near the general elections with political temperatures rising. The horrific events of 2007/2008 post-election violence should remind us to exercise restraint and tolerance with one another. In the meantime, we are following keenly the investigations by IPOA on the anti-riot police who were out of order.

However, while the right to picket and demonstrate should be respected and accorded to all Kenyans, it should be a last resort. The opposition should adhere to the rule of law for the sake of the nation. Ways that are legally structured can help tone down the political temperatures. CORD’s demands are echoed not only by the civil rights groups and activists, but also by certain quarters in the government. Indeed with such a large backing, IEBC impasse can be resolved without much mayhem unless there are other ulterior motives. Having said that, the government should also purge from within the security forces those bent on disregarding the law.

We have already lost too much as a country from important regional infrastructure projects that Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda are enjoying. In the name of political instability and insecurity. The government should therefore re-evaluate their strategy and take serious the call to create a peaceful environment in the country because it has everything to gain from political stability.

Meanwhile, when our MPs resume sitting in June, it would be prudent that they revisit the security laws in this country such as the Security Laws (Amendment) Act that had vague areas that could lead to infringement of individual’s rights, the freedom of expression and the media as guaranteed under Articles 33 and 34 of the Constitution.

Indeed, for the sake of the country’s prosperity, our MPs should table new laws or amendments that will ensure rogue police are winnowed out of the forces and professionalism entrenched in the security system and where such laws exist, seek better ways to enforce them.

A starting point would be to consider not only the training of our police force but also the time spent in training. Additionally, is it wise to recruit otherwise irresponsible individuals with weak academic background to the Police Force? Does this have anything to do with the deviant behavior witnessed among the police?

Lastly, recruitment officers should be trained on better recruitment practices. Outdated recruitment procedures should be done away with, in favour of scientific methods in tandem with the best global practices. Otherwise, 2017 elections could become our worst nightmare.

4 Comments

  • by Nelson Mandela Mungami on 23rd May 2016

    The enjoyment of one's right should not infringe on somebody else's right and that should be put into context as we address this issue of demonstrations. Some demonstrators looted shops and caused lots of damage to the property owned by their fellow Kenyans who didn't deserve such uncalled liabilities and irresponsible expenses imposed by the demonstrators. Police came to restore peace and order and those people who attacked the security officers then the police had to defend themselves by whatever means necessary. Some people joined the pupils during the lang'ata primary school demonstrations and the teargas used was meant for the adults not the pupils and that is a good point to note. Nobody was raped during the University of Nairobi demonstrations. Facts should be differentiated from allegations. Kenyans should stand with the people who lost their properties and help the police deal with those people trying to reap from where they never sowed.

  • by Benard Langat on 24th May 2016

    I think there is a better way of doing rather than demonstrating

  • by JEREMIAH WAKAYA on 6th June 2016

    Agree.Leaders who take advantage of youths must stop forthwith. Any leader worth his position will actually use his influence to urge his supporters to conduct themselves in decorum. Some must take responsibility if hell breaks loose at the end of the day.If you take your troops out their, be ready to take responsibility for any damage they cause innocent Kenyans out there.

  • by paul on 15th June 2016

    No matter, if the cause they are demonstrating is correct, the Police Officers should still let them demonstrate without fear and violence. The Police Officer’s hitting them with sticks and kicking them while they are lying on the ground. The Police Officers driving reckless into crowds with specially produced Anti-Riot cars imported from China, that are used now against own citizens. The Tear-Gas and the bullying the citizens is not vision of a transparent society, but of an oppressive government who wants to control its public, not be there to create security and make sure the criminals are taken down