Friday, June 19, 2009

Kenya: To What Extent is the Government of Kenya Committed to Police Reforms?

When the UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston initially reported that there are extrajudicial killings in Kenya orchestrated by the police, he may have shocked the world but not citizens and residents of Kenya. On the contrary, Kenyans must have been shocked when the government denied the existence of illegal police executions and rubbished the Alston report as untrue and shoddy work.

In the course of time however, the government has now eventually conceded that indeed extrajudicial killings have occurred in the country and promised to protect human rights and those defending it. Interestingly, this concession did not happen until the report was presented by Alston at a United Nations 11th Session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva recently.

A delegation representing the coalition government made up of the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) gave the government’s point of view at the Geneva conference. Perhaps this concession by the coalition government might be an indicator that finally there is commitment to reforms, particularly in the police force.

The Kenya Police Force has now been put on the spot and a wide aray of stakeholders have been pressing for reforms. Among other allegations, police have been accused of being unable to fight spiraling crime especially relating to the crack down on organized criminal groups such as the dreaded outlawed mungiki sect and sungu-sungu. Instead, the police are accused of dealing with such organized criminal groups through excessive force and extra-judicial killings.

The notorious mungiki has its origin as a traditional religious sect but over the past decade and a half, the sect has transformed itself into a Kenyan version of the mafia involved in murder, dismembering the bodies of their victims, extortion, abduction and racketeering, just to mention a few atrocities committed against innocent Kenyans.


Source: ISS

No comments: