The Oasis Reporters
June 5, 2020
At a time that Kenya’s most famous international citizen, former US president, Barack Obama was commending protesters’ in the US for a ” powerful and transformative” communication that has given a ” sense of urgency”, as powerful and transformative as anything I’ve seen in recent years”, Kenyan police in East Africa was busy killing as many as 15 homeless, poor and most disadvantaged persons for breaking curfew regulations by being on the streets.
The country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, whose father, Jomo Kenyatta was founding president of the country has imposed a dawn to dusk curfew.
But I’ll trained police officers in Africa often see such positions as unfettered cover to perpetrate brutality, extortion and killings. Just as white police officers in America and Australia show their racist tendencies as it happen with white police officer Chauvin in Minnesota kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man, George Floyd already in handcuffs, until he could breathe no more.
Human rights movements in Kenya have taken the matter up, urging the authorities to prosecute the police officers who have used the cover of the curfew to kill people in poor neighborhoods in the country. Two policemen have already been taken into custody.
Kenya saw internecine tribal violence during an electioneering season once, which pitched the majority Kikuyu ethnic group led by Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, against the Luo ethnic group, seen to be represented by Raila Odinga, Obama’s ancestral tribe.
Kenya’s election commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president and one of the prime suspects in a case involving crimes against humanity, to be the winner of the country’s presidential race amid growing allegations of vote fraud and a refusal by the other leading contender to concede.
Mr. Kenyatta, who has been accused by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague of bankrolling death squads during that crisis ridden election.
Though a wizened Uhuru Kenyatta made enough speeches and gestures for peace in a subsequent presidential election in 2017, but the reflex of over reaction and trigger joy appears embedded in the psyche of Kenya’s police officers, who are more of Kikuyu tribesmen, leading to tensions in sprawling slums like Kibera where majority of poor Luo citizens reside.