Professor Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings was categorical that Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali should be sacked as Police Commissioner.
I say categorical because Prof Alston did not, at any time, mention resignation on the part of the career soldier.
Well, maybe the police boss should take the flak for the mysterious disappearance of more than 1,000 youths. I think the police boss should take ‘political responsibility’ for reneging on his pledge to reform the law enforcement agency, but I surely sympathise with his plight.
When it comes to how the police have dealt with armed criminal gangs, I hereby offer my unequivocal support to the blue-uniformed officers.
In mid 2007, Nairobi and the larger Central Province were terrified territories. This was when a day would hardly pass without news of a headless body, decapitated body parts etc discovered somewhere.
Infact, there was a night when armed thugs raided a popular pub in Kariobangi, shot indscrimately, set off a hand grenade and on their way out, sprayed bullets into a taxi that was ahead of them. All this was the Mungiki ‘sending a message’.
Around the same time, two police officers on foot-patrol in Kayole were shot dead. I covered a story in Spring Valley where two decapitated bodies were discovered in a thicket by two farmhands. Let me tell you my friend, the sight of a human hand stashed into a plastic bag, armless torso in another and two legs in separate gunny bags is not one you would forget in many years. I haven’t.
We all bayed for the blood of these killers. In fact, human rights activists, including those paid by the taxpayer did not mince their words – if the police cannot protect Kenyans, then they should tell us so!
So, let us come to the present. Many Kenyans have recently championed for ‘The Hague route’ as a sure way of ending impunity as regards political violence. Our own MPs voted against a locally-established Special Tribunal, in effect passing a no-confidence vote on our Judiciary, meaning prosecutions through to judgement.
Police officers, right from their commissioner to a Kiganjo recruit, are Kenyans too. They also share this sentiment with the rest of us. When a criminal gang starts eliminating officers to ‘prove a point’ then the officers must do all they can to protect themselves, their families, and by extension other law-abiding Kenyans.
It is for this reason that I support their crackdown on the illegal sect members. As has been said time and again, even by human rights campaigners, the root of the Mungiki and other illegal sects runs deep.
The police are not policy makers, and as such, they cannot handle this issue from a policy standpoint. The law only mandates them to maintain law and order, and in this case, they must use all tactics to ensure that no other family of a deserting youth, chief or police officer agonises the cruel death of their kin in the hands of this ‘dissilusioned, ignored, jobless, youth’ called Mungiki.
The people who should resign because of the Mungiki should be members of the Executive (for not drafting appropriate policy) and the Legislature (for not entrenching such policy into law).
Until then, Major General Hussein Ali should be allowed to order his boys to protect all law-abiding citizens, but we should insist that they stay within the confines of the law.
It is upon the Attorney General and the Executive to ensure that the law grinds faster and to a finer pulp.