*STATEMENT ON THE EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE BY POLICE ON MOMBASA RESIDENTS AND JOURNALISTS*
The Mombasa law Society has learnt with tremendous regret that the police manning the Kenya ferry crossing at Likoni teargassed,bludgeoned and used excessive force on members of the public around the Likoni ferry area.
The pictures circulating show police officers beating defenceless Kenyans some were invalid, children,others were women with children on their backs and some had fallen down. Even in rudimentary societies it is improper to beat people who have surrendered or fallen down and pose no danger.
The scene is detestable,sad and unfortunate.It is sad that measures put in place to manage the Corona virus and protect the right to life are being used by the police to maim and endanger life.
The tear gas used affects the respiratory system and the commotion can only aid in the spread of the virus.
The Inspector of police owes the affected residents an apology. This behaviour of the rogue police officers must be checked as the use of excessive force claws back on police reforms.
We are further perturbed that police chose to beat and harass a journalist who was in the ordinary cause of his job that is to keep Kenyans informed. This is clearly an infringement on media freedom and should be condemned.
The Society will in due course get in touch with the affected journalist and offer pro bono services in pursuit of justice. Further, the Society will reach out to residents affected and also offer free representation as they pursue their rights. We also urge the Independent police oversight authority to immediately investigate and take action on these excesses.
We expect those entrusted with resposibilites at the Ferry crossing at this to be mindful especialy to the pedestrian ferry users. They are a low income group. They have to cross to and fro the Likoni Channel in search of work. Some have already lost their jobs. They are anxious and afraid. The Police should be seen to facilitate safe, secure and orderly pedestrian crossing, not brutalising and instiling pain and fear upon the poor ferry users.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a critical time when we should all be united to defeat the COVID 19 pandemic.
To achieve this requires extreme civility and patriotism where all human lives should be protected.
The protector and enforcer of Kenyans bill of rights is the Judiciary. It is apparent that going forward Kenyans need to speedily access judicial remedies.
The constitution does not contemplate a situation where the courts are closed. We ask the Chief justice to accordingly reconsider the closure of the third arm of government, the courts, and allow some level of daily operation in the circumstances.
In the meantime, our prayers are with those who suffered injuries as a consequence of the brutality.
God bless Kenya, May justice continue to be our shield and defender even in times of calamity .
Chairman, Mombasa law Society