• Thursday, 13 June 2024
THE STATESMAN OPINION: Killer police officers must be held accountable

THE STATESMAN OPINION: Killer police officers must be held accountable

More than 30 Kenyans have been killed in the protests against the high cost of living, according to tallies by rights groups, including Amnesty International Kenya.

Most of them died from police shootings and suffocation from tear gas.

Many of the survivors are now crippled. These and others are fighting for their lives at home or in hospitals.  

This kind of police brutality is unseen in recent memory. The cruelty visited upon Kenyans, especially residents of Nyalenda in Kisumu, is unacceptable.

The protection of human life by law enforcement, including the police, is a fundamental principle that is recognised and upheld by various international legal instruments and standards.

The police must, therefore, not escape culpability for these atrocities. Historically, people have used peaceful protests to air grievances and states have a duty to protect this right. There are many non-lethal ways to handle protests that pose a legitimate threat to the safety and rights of others.

Bodies such as the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman) and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority were created to protect the rights of Kenyans. We expect they will investigate and bring to book any abuse of instruments of policing.

It is also time for the Azimio coalition, which called the protests, to change tack. It is already difficult to hold protests without the resultant deaths of innocent people.

There must be other ways for Kenyans to be heard, without the loss of lives and the crippling of young people.

Quote of the Day: "I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest."

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