Is Kenya’s police force above the law?

“Well we can’t guarantee that they will do it, we know that it is politically difficult, but we hope that they believe it is important in the accountability in this case. So they should understand that the existing institution cannot investigate the case.”

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Ordinary people, representatives of foreign governments and international institutions have continued to react to Kenya’s police actions calling them clear acts of abuse of human rights by the men in uniform. A Human Rights Watch in the capital, Nairobi, has released its findings on a recent allegation of brutality and killings in the east African country.

Cameraman is caught up in a fracas. Police officer is seen beating up a protestor in Kenya. (Photo, HRW)
Cameraman is caught up in a fracas. Police officer is seen beating up a protestor in Kenya. (Photo, HRW)

Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), Otsieno Namwaya, said they have handed a copy of their findings to the Kenyan Inspector General of Police, with the expectation that the government does something to address the issues raised in the report.

“They definitely have a copy, before we embark on this publishing the report, we shared these cases with all the relevant Kenya security agencies and ministries. So they all have a copy, unfortunately, they did not respond, the only security agency that responded was the Kenya wildlife police who basically said they did not know anything about the case,” he added.

Namwaya said the Kenya government should set up a special body with a broad mandate to investigate all the agencies concerned. He reiterated that the nation demand accountability.

“Well we can’t guarantee that they will do it, we know that it is politically difficult, but we hope that they believe it is important in the accountability in this case. So they should understand that the existing institution cannot investigate the case.”

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi condemned the police actions, as did Amnesty International.
“The brutal beatings by police amount to arbitrary and abusive use of force, which is illegal under Kenyan, regional and international law,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The Independent Police Oversight Authority must quickly launch a thorough investigation into this blatant violation of human rights. Police officers suspected of responsibility for arbitrary or abusive use of force, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in fair proceedings,” Wanyeki said in a statement.
Four Kenyan police were recently charged with the murder of a lawyer and two others.  The accused face three counts of murder for the deaths of lawyer, Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda and their driver.

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