KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Nairobi, Tuesday June 7th, 2022
The Kenya National Police Service Officers Must Adhere to the Checklist on Public Order Management
The attention of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has been drawn to the heart-rending images on mainstream media and social media platforms, clearly showing involvement of uniformed police officers in wanton and brutal engagement on defenceless members of the public, along the Mombasa Highway at Masimba Trading Centre, in Kajiado County on Thursday last week - leading to the killing of four protesters and wounding of six others by the police officers.
It is pitiable to watch the uniformed General Service Unit (GSU) officers, who are deemed to be custodians of law and order, incessantly shooting live bullets aimed at the protesters whose cause was justified.
The Commission is cognizant of the promised action to probe the incident by His Excellency the President and the Minister of Interior and Coordination of National Government through the Inspector General of Police in their recent public statements.
Whereas the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights acknowledges the quick action of initiating investigations on the incident by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government; and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, it is imperative that investigations are fast-tracked to bring to book the culpable officers. Further, the Commission calls for the initiation of an immediate process of redress, accountability and compensation of the victims of the killings. The Commission demands the same to be expedited and justice be served.
In this respect, even those who were arrested and/or the detained protesters must be treated in a humane manner and with respect for their rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity as dictated by the law. They must not be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In is the role and responsibility of law enforcement officers to proactively and in a professional manner work towards helping to defuse tension and preventing dangerous escalations. The incident at Masimba Township is a pointer to the gaps in the security system and is another reminder to the National and County Governments to work together and ensure the full implementation of the County Policing Authorities in all Counties, so that the police and the citizens can have an avenue for intelligence gathering and sharing, which will in turn play a crucial role in detecting and preventing incidents like the Masimba killings.
Following the Masimba Township incident and others that go unreported, the Commission brings to the fore that, the checklist for Kenya Police Service officers in public order management during protests and assemblies are very clear and must therefore be followed to the spirit and letter as enshrined in the Kenya Constitution and Police Service Standing Orders. Article 37 of our Constitution states that; every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed to assemble, demonstrate and picket. This must be respected and adhered to by all law enforcement officers and agents, especially during this time that our country is on an electoral campaign period and gearing towards the August general elections. Police officers should be able to isolate and arrest violent protesters who are in breach of peace and at the same time protect those who are innocent.
Further, the Commission wishes to retaliate that the right to security of the person as protected by Article 29 of the Constitution of Kenya must be upheld at all times by the security officers in the course of their work. The Commission further reiterates that any human rights violation or abuse in the context of managing assemblies by the Kenya Police Service officers must be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially. Victims should be provided with access to remedy and redress for such violations and abuses through judicial, oversight body or other national mechanisms, based on law and in conformity with human rights obligations and commitments.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights invites any member of the public with information on the police officers actions and/or the affected person(s) at Masimba Township to contact the Commission via: Mobile: 0721519715 / 0110939013; or Toll Free number- 0800720627 Email: email@example.com;Twitter:@hakiKNCHR; KNCHR Free SMS number: 22359 or visit our offices on Lenana Road, CVS Plaza, 1st Floor, Nairobi.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights