On Wednesday, a report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) indicated that police officers killed at least 21 people in Dandora and Mathare in Nairobi since August 2018.
Many in the informal slams of Nairobi have been accusing the police of using a lot of force in handling residents. The rights groups have recorded hundreds of extrajudicial killings.
Otsieno Namwaya, the HRW researcher revealed that most of these killings were similar.
“The common trend was that either the police brand somebody a thief and either warn the person or put their name on social media, and then a week or two later the person is found dead, or they ambush the person somewhere either in the house or on the street, arrest the person, or ask the person to kneel down and then shoot the person in broad daylight and sometimes in the full glare of the public,” Namwaya said.
In the report, HRW accuses Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), Kenya’s police accountability institution, for doing little to stop these killings.
IPOA was set up in 2011. Since its creation, six officers have been convicted of extrajudicial killings.
However, IPOA, through its chairperson Anne Makori indicated that they don't have powers to prosecute police officers.
“Because we have investigative powers, [when] we find the officer is culpable, we forward that file to the ODPP for prosecution, because we do not have prosecutorial powers,” she said.
“As we speak, we have 164 files within ODPP and we have 49 files within the court system," she added.
It is unfortunate that most families whose members were killed by the police never find justice, as most witnesses refuse to come forward for fear of their life.
Police spokesman insisted that any police officer found breaching the law faces the law personally. More so, he added that extrajudicial police killings in various Nairobi slums should be investigated by IPOA and those responsible prosecuted.