Junior police officers should be protected against harassment and intimidation from the public and politicians. This is a plea from the former Nairobi county governor Mike Sonko
In a Facebook post, Sonko says that most of the junior police officers accused of committing crimes find themselves in such situations while performing their duties to keep the country safe.
Sonko was responding to an incident where Pakistani investigative journalist Arshad Sharif was killed by the police in a case of mistaken identity, with the police taking the blame.
The 49-year-old journalist was killed on Sunday night when the car he was travelling in was fired upon by police after it failed to stop at a checkpoint in Kajiado county. He was accompanied by another Pakistani Khurram Ahmed, who was wounded in the incident.
“Why I’m saying our junior police officers who were manning the Nairobi-Magadi highway roadblock are innocent? Gari ya kina huyu journalist was circulated kwa radio calls za police wote as a stolen vehicle and it was believed the occupants were dangerous and heavily armed. When our good police officers were alerted the vehicle was approaching the roadblock, wote walijiprepare as usual na kustop hiyo gari but the late journalist and his driver ignored police orders to stop and instead sped up which forced the police to open fire while chasing the car. I think we all still remember the Westgate and Dusit terror attacks very vividly hebu tufikirie vile terrorists waliingia kwa hizi buildings na kulikuwa na presence ya polisi? Na pia mujue ingekuwa hii gari ya journalist iko na terrorists wa ukweli ipite this roadblock while it was circulated waende wauwe watu junction mall ama Galleria mall the officers kwa roadblock wangekuwa blamed na even kuloose jobs zao. So plse let’s not demoralise the spirit of our officers wakiwa kazi wataogopa kupambana na majambazi,” Sonko wrote.
Sharif was critical of Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75 years since independence. He left his country in August after sedition charges were filed over an interview with an opposition politician during which comments deemed offensive to the military were made.
“If we continue to intimidate our junior police officers who are out to perform their duties za kuchunga usalama wa wakenya we are endangering our own security. Crime rate will start going up, armed robbers will be everywhere, kidnappings za motorists na za families zitarudi. Women will be raped in their homes in presence of their children, Alshabab will attack us mpaka ndani ya our airports, Malls, entertainment joints. In short Kenya will no longer be safe,” added Sonko.
This comes days after the government disbanded the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI’s) Special Service Unit (SSU) which bore the task of solving complicated crimes.
They were relied on to respond to any murder incident involving violent criminals on the run or unsolved issues and even terrorism.
SSU was formerly referred to as Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SCPU), which was reorganized in 2019 by former DCI boss George Kinoti. Before SCPU, the unit existed as the Flying Squad.
A section of Kenyans have echoed Sonko’s call urging that the police would be too demoralised to act on any serious security threats in future