- IMLU’s preliminary research shows that between August 26 and August 30, 34 Kenyans were shot and 13 died.
- It is the duty of the living to speak for those killed and IMLU are taking that leadership role.
Last month’s rerun presidential election will be remembered for a variety of reasons but few of those memories will bring much joy.
An incident that I savour, however, was when intervention was required to halt an angry crowd in Bangladesh, Mombasa, who attempted to demolish a wall because they mistakenly believed that ballot boxes were being stuffed behind it.
The police were ready to repulse the attack until I persuaded Changamwe OCS Alex Busienei to give me a chance to talk to the hundreds of youth.
He not only agreed but took my hand and promised to give cover in case I was assaulted.
After some time the youth accepted our version and tension was reduced.
However, what sticks in my memory was not the risk that I took but the coolness and professionalism with which the OCS handled a potentially dangerous situation.
Discipline, dialogue and patience won the day and I acknowledge Mr Busienei’s approach.
While it is fitting to acknowledge individual officers who handled election protests in a professional way, it would appear that just a handful were willing to engage in such a manner during the August and October elections.
While the National Police Service (NPS) boasted that they were thoroughly prepared to handle every type of incident, the reality is that in opposition strongholds excessive and unnecessary force was used.
According to the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), 36 Kenyans aged between six months and 36 years of age were killed by police: 23 in August and another 13 in October.
Not surprisingly, the police spokesman, George Kinoti, dismissed the report as ‘sensational, malicious and misleading’, claiming that its aim was to taint the image of the NPS.
However, Mr Kinoti made no reference to the evidence that the post-mortem reports on 11 victims revealed.