Opinion / Commentaries
Wednesday, 08 Jun 2016 11:44 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
The number of people dying in the hands of the police during the protests by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has been increasing each passing week. The demonstrations have been marked by the use of excessive force by law enforcers, with five demonstrators killed in Siaya and Kisumu alone.
These killings are absolutely uncalled for and reflect badly on the government’s commitment to protect its citizens. Calls from various NGOs as well as human rights bodies agitating for a less forceful approach by the police in dispersing demonstrators have fallen on deaf ears. The fact that none of the officers involved in the deaths, or those captured by the media brutalizing demonstrators, has been brought to book shows that the government has no will to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to account.
The families of those killed in the demos will miss their loved ones forever, while those who were lucky to remain alive, like Boniface Manono who was brutalized right before media cameras, are still crying for justice. All for exercising their right to assemble and picket. For these victims, the constitution and legislations that lay out procedures for dealing with errant officers who use excessive force in the line of duty can never be more meaningless; the very people mandated by the constitution to protect lives are the ones infringing their rights!
What concerns me more about these killings is not only the presence of errant officers in our midst, but the indifference many Kenyans have adopted in dealing with the situation. It is our duty as good citizens to point out wrongdoing when we see it. I also believe that, to foster peaceful coexistence, the government should try to make Kenyans feel protected under the law rather than merely preaching patriotism.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.