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Opinion & Analysis

EDITORIAL: Police brutality has no place in modern Kenya

Scores of people remain in hospital across the country nursing wounds inflicted by the police while many families are mourning loved ones felled by bullets. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Scores of people remain in hospital across the country nursing wounds inflicted by the police while many families are mourning loved ones felled by bullets. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The damage police brutality has caused during this electioneering period alone is unacceptable and only validates the agency’s long running image as a service packed with rogue officers.

Photographs, videos and personal accounts of police officers maiming or even killing protesters are out in the public and not even political lies or public relations spins would erase the nasty deeds of some of the officers.

Scores of people remain in hospital across the country nursing wounds inflicted by the police while many families are mourning loved ones felled by bullets fired by the very officers who ought to shield them from harm.

Some of the maimed or killed are young children who had nothing to do with the political duels or protests.

While the government has repeatedly defended the police for their actions, we believe that doing so only worsens the situation. It entrenches the perception that the agency is one that obeys no laws and its officers are free to brutalise and even kill citizens at the slightest provocation.

The Constitution is explicit on the standards of managing public protests and the behaviour portrayed so far by police cannot be found anywhere in the books.

It is, for instance, baffling when an officer resorts to firing live bullets at protesters when they have an option of using riot control mechanisms such as water cannons and rubber bullets.

The National Police Service needs to urgently review its operations because its officials are well aware that brutalism has no place in law and will only become counterproductive in the long run as enmity builds up between the law enforcers and society.

Policing is a two-way traffic and police cannot afford to brutalise the society and expect co-operation from them on matters such as intelligence gathering that would help tackle crime.

This far, the only way the police can and must win back the confidence of the public is by respecting the rule of law and placing justice at the centre of their actions.

More importantly, we must not allow impunity to thrive in the police service.

Police brutality must be thoroughly investigated and those found culpable should face the law. This is the only sure way to ensure all of us, including the police, adhere to the law.

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