POLICE DEFY THE LAW ON CURFEW ORDER

Police brutality condemned during the first day of Curfew. PHOTO /CORRESPONDENT

POLICE DEFY THE LAW ON CURFEW ORDER

By African Times Special Correspondent

Under the auspices of the Police Reforms

Working Group, twenty national human rights

organisations, collectively condemn the

unnecessary and excessive use of force by

Kenya National Police Service officers at the

Likoni Ferry Crossing, Mombasa County Kenya .

The police actions completely betrayed the

specific responsibility bestowed upon them by

the President; to facilitate orderly passage of

commuters on the Likoni crossing.

Alongside elected leaders and members of the

public, were horrified by the excessive use of

police force contrary to the functions of the

Police laid out in Article 244 the new

Constitution of the Republic of Kenya .

Police indiscriminately threw teargas, frog

marched and beat up members of the public

trying to get home in time for the curfew.

The assault of Nation Media Group Journalist

Peter Wainaina by a uniformed police officer

during the operation was also condemned .

The Kenya Police are being reminded that

journalists and media houses are among the

essential services exempted from the curfew

order as per the Schedule published by the

Ministry of Interior.

It is unbelievable that this violence took place

two hours before the designated curfew time of

7.00pm.

It is essential that Kenyan law and international

human standards are respected.

Police bear a duty to maintain public order and

enforce the law.

They may only use force when strictly

necessary.

Where the use of force is unavoidable, it must

also be done with restraint.

Police Reforms continue to receive testimonies

from victims, eyewitnesses and video footage

showing police gleefully assaulting members of

the public in other parts of the country.

In most instances, few posed no immediate

threat to the police officers or others.

The use of force and beatings was unnecessary

and unlawful.

One day before the Likoni Ferry fiasco, the

National Police Service Inspector General

issued clear instructions to his officers.

These instructions clearly state his

commitment to hold sub-commanders

accountable for any police actions that lead to

congestion, crowding or violate social

distancing rules.

Police Reforms Institution ask him to honor his

own word by disciplining the Sub-Commander

in charge of Mombasa Ferry fiasco.

The Institution also call upon Officers

Commanding Station (OCSs) to be guided by

the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines as they

deal with petty offenders at the station level.

And further call upon the National Police

Service Inspector General to restrain his officers

from using teargas to avoid potential spread of

COVID-19.

Hundreds were forced to cough, vomit, spit and

touch their faces to wipe away tears and

unblock their mouths and noses.

If the operation was supposed to protect people

from spreading the virus, the operation

achieved the exact opposite.

It is imperative that Ministry of Health

guidelines on prevention of the spread of

COVID-19 are followed by Police at all times.

Police officers appear confused on who is

included in the categories of critical and

essential services on the first night of the

curfew.

Police Reforms Institution has testimonies from

suppliers and trained medical practitioners who

experienced intimidation and threats of arrest

as they tried to provide services during the

curfew.

Their free movement must be protected.

The Ministry of Interior Cabinet Secretary

should include legal services as essential

services and accredit Article 59 to monitor

human rights, people’s safety and represent

clients who are arrested over this period.

It should be noted that the right to a fair trial

cannot been suspended even in the face of an

pandemic.

Internal Affairs Unit of the National Police

Service, the Independent Policing Oversight

Authority and the Kenya National Commission

for Human Rights to investigate all reports of

excessive use of force and unlawful policing

with a view to holding perpetrators individually

responsible.

Members of the public are being urged and

encouraged to immediately report any

intimidation, extortion or violence to the

agencies.

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