Abuse by Kenya police officers on the rise: IPOA report
Police abuse of civilians is getting worse and includes extrajudicial killings as well as enforced disappearances, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has said.
According to the IPOA, 3,200 people reported cases of police abuse last year which is six times the number of people who reported such cases in 2013.
Last week, 17-year-old Stephen Machurusi was killed in the Kasarani during protests over bad roads.
Medical examination show he was shot at close range and family members are blaming police.
“We want justice for our brother,” his sister told VOA after the burial in Molo on Thursday.
“That’s why I want to come back to Nairobi to follow up on the story. With people I have, we will get justice am sure of that. We won’t rest until we get justice for our brother.”
IPOA Chairperson Anne Makori said: “IPOA has noted with a lot of concern that the misuse of firearm and use of excessive force continue to be the biggest challenge facing the national police service.”
The report by IPOA comes days after another teenager, Hemedi Majini, was allegedly shot by police in Nairobi.
And according to a Human Rights Watch global report, police officers use force to disperse protesters and the Kenyan authorities have failed to hold officers accountable.
It said that in June 2019, prosecutors presented 67 cases of police abuse to the courts, but only six resulted in convictions.
Otsieno Namwaya is the rights group’s researcher in Kenya and told VOA that police often try to conceal evidence of wrongdoing by officers.
“Police are supposed to provide preliminary report and share that report with the inspector general of police, the internal affairs of the police and IPOA and then IPOA pick it up from there,” he said.
“But police never do this, they don’t provide information, and they try to destroy evidence as much as possible they go out of their way to intimidate witnesses.”
Doreen Muthaura of IPOA agreed that witness intimidation has hampered efforts to get convictions.
“The challenge is actually witnesses coming forward for purposes of recording statement,” she said.
“You know the threshold of some of the cases we are investigating is beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore if we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have a watertight case, and the prosecution or any action including disciplinary action cannot be taken against those officers.”
An official on the police force told VOA it’s not the place of the force to critique the work of IPOA.