Police Brutality Fuels Violent Extremist Groups

How do I even start penning down my thoughts on this piece? It’s a sad state indeed of affair in our history of Kenya. On August 8, 2017, Kenya held presidential elections in which the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected amid allegations of electoral fraud. The vote, which has since been annulled by Kenya’s Supreme Court following the opposition’s legal challenge, was also marred by serious human rights violations across the Country.

The report entitled “Kill Those Criminals” published by Amnesty International Kenya and Human Rights Watch released recently depicts the incidences, stories of survivors and witnesses of the victims by intention and victims by coincidence. The demonstrations’ which ought to be peaceful turns out chaotic in one way or the other. We don’t know whether the police are the ones who turns the demonstrations be chaotic or rather the demonstrators themselves. Do you? The report indicates at least 33 people were killed alone in Nairobi, most of them as a result of action from the police, may the souls of the departed rest in peace. In addition, hundreds of residents have suffered severe injuries including gunshot wounds, debilitating injuries such as broken bones and extensive bruising as a result of the police violence.

The constitution of Kenya 2010 article 37 which states, every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities. This article gives powers to demonstrate peacefully but doesn’t give entitlement and powers for hooliganism and thuggery in any sort of way. Article 40(5) states that the state shall support promote and protect the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

Every right has its responsibilities too which every individual including the police ought to abide with.

The biggest question in my mind is what is running in the mind and head of that kid whose father, brother, sister, mother, friend or relative was shot dead, beaten up by police officers by his/her watch? How will he/she grow up with those kinds of thoughts? What kind of human being will he/she be in the future?

Isn’t the society bringing up violent extremist groups unknowingly?

What of a photo posted on facebook recently by a young man holding an AK47 riffle. What does this indicate and tell us? The text of the post said and I quote “Tomorrow will be the beginning of the end of my days on this planet…so I pray God that should I go down tomorrow during the demonstration I will have to take as many dogs as I can with me” end of quote.

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We can all agree that where there is injustice, deprivation and desperation, violent extremist ideologies present themselves as a challenge to the status quo and a form of escape.

We have moved ahead as a nation in the fight against violent extremism and radicalization and we shouldn’t take ourselves back. Both parties should come together in solving the quagmire before it is too late.

Author

Evans Ouma

Stretchers Youth Organization

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