US envoy calls for probe into brutality by police

US ambassador Robert Godec. FILE PHOTO | NMG
US ambassador Robert Godec. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

US ambassador Robert Godec has called for investigations into reports of police brutality against demonstrators in the immediate aftermath of the repeat presidential election held last week.

Kenyan security agencies are on the spot over excessive use of force including the use of live bullets when handling the protests by supporters of the opposition Nasa.

In a statement, Mr Godec said that unless there was no other choice to protect life and property, the security forces should show maximum restraint in containing demonstrators.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of excessive use of force by the police; we urge that all such allegations be fully investigated and any officers who have acted outside the law be held to account,” he said in a statement issued Monday.

More than 50 people have been killed, mostly by security forces, since the August 8 vote, raising fears of sustained violence only a decade after 1,200 people were killed in serious ethnic fighting triggered by another disputed vote.

While calling for an urgent, open and transparent national dialogue, Mr Godec also urged Kenyans to reject the politics of hatred and division.

This came before the IEBC declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the victor of last week’s repeat presidential election with slightly more than 98 per cent of the vote.

The turnout for the vote, which was boycotted by Opposition leader Raila Odinga, was just under 39 per cent of the 19.6 million registered voters.

Earlier, riot police fired teargas at Opposition supporters in Kawangware, Nairobi, as the country awaited official confirmation of a landslide win for incumbent in re-run elections.

Protesters gathered in Kawangware trying to block a visit from Interior minister Fred Matiang’i, witnesses told Reuters news agency.

The envoy said Washington was “profoundly concerned” by the outbreaks of violence since the October 26 vote.

Protests by Opposition supporters prevented polling stations from opening in 25 constituencies.

The election commission said that poor security prevented them from holding the vote in those areas, but that since it would not “materially affect” the result, the final announcement could go ahead.

Mr Odinga pulled out of the vote, saying the election commission had failed to institute reforms to prevent the kind of “illegalities and irregularities” that scuppered Kenyatta’s win in the August vote.