Open Letter To Kenya Police
By Donald Kipkorir
And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
When I saw the pictures of 7 year old Geoffrey Mutinda lying death on his pool of blood at his balcony having been shot by the Police, my heart was torn. In such times of moral crisis, there is no room for equivocation. We must choose sides. In the day of Judgment, Jesus will ask us what we did when Master Mutinda was killed …
Our Constitution binds all, big and small, rich and poor with no qualifications. Our Constitution says any other law that is inconsistent with it is VOID. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution makes it loudly clear that we all have the Rights to Life, Equality from discrimination, Human Dignity, Freedom Of Expression, Political Rights, Freedom to Demonstrate & Picket and Freedom From Degrading Treatment. These rights are not the privilege of any individual or institution.
The History Of Kenya Police is a sordid one. We have just been ranked the worst Police in the world bar Nigeria and Uganda. Even the failed States of Congo, Sierra Leone and CAR are better than us. Even despotic regimes of the Middle East are faring better.
We have had many false starts to reform the Police. As an Op-Ed Columnist in the NATION and STANDARD for over 10 Years, I argued repeatedly that Police be reformed both systemically and also in human and materíel resources. I have argued that our Police be modeled along the Hong Kong Police. There, a Constable starting salary is us$5,000, and not our paltry Kshs. 15,000/= that make our Police take bribes of Kshs.50/=.
Be that as it may, our laws do not allow the Police to kill anyone except by law stated. The National Police Act, 2011 States clearly that you can only use your gun when your life is in danger or preventing a felon from escaping from lawful custody or protect life and property. Burning or looting a kiosk can never be a reason to kill. And sufficient notice must in any event be given before use of arms.
However, it seems the Police have been quick to use guns to quell NASA rallies. This year alone, over 100 people are documented to have died from Police shootings. This is not morally or legally right. In France, public demonstrations are more violent than Kenya, yet Police never kill. In South Africa, demonstrators buy bricks to use against the Police and no one gets killed. In Pakistan, demonstrators are armed and Police rarely kill. Why then is Kenyan Police trigger happy to kill?
Under International Law, the Defence Of Superior Command is no longer available. Individuals, whether Police or Military or Civilians are personally liable for breaching international norms on life, property and war. Our Police Act is very clear that you only obey lawful orders. Orders that violate the Constitution can’t be lawful.
My plea and prayer to our Police is to be human , and read and understand our Constitution and the Police Act. There is no time limitation on crime …. One day, time catches up on all criminals and they account for their crimes. And if one misses earthly Justice, they can’t miss God’s Judgment as set out in the Bible and the Koran. In the Day Of Judgment, Jesus will tell you: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Choice to respect life is personal.