Police ordered to hasten poll violence investigations

May 23, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, May 23 – Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti directed the Police on Friday to fast track probes into the cases of perpetrators of the post election violence that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people.

“This will ensure that these matters are concluded once and for all so that the rule of law and the grounding of the healing process are consolidated,” Saitoti said.

His directive comes amid debate on whether or not the perpetrators of the violence should be given amnesty.

The violence was borne of a disputed presidential vote tally in last year’s general election, and lasted for two months, disrupting the peaceful coexistence formerly characteristic of Kenya.

Members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have pleaded for the release of the suspects to crystallise the ongoing reconciliation process, but their opponents in government say those guilty must face justice.

On Friday, when he presided over the opening of a workshop for Senior Police Officers at the Criminal Investigations Department Training School in Nairobi, Saitoti commended officers for taking the suspects to court.

He mentioned some of the cases brought forth as; murder, robbery with violence, rape, possession of offensive weapons, arson, stealing and burglary.

The Security Minister said those charged with petty offences, totalling over 4,690, had already been prosecuted.

The Grand Cabinet on Thursday resolved after a day long meeting that the police should categorise offences in terms of their gravity (minor or major), for all the cases of persons in custody, pending investigations for further consideration by the Cabinet.

At the same time, Saitoti urged the police to remain vigilant against outlawed gangs.

He said Kenyans as a whole were united in condemning the evils of organised criminal gangs, which he said have threatened the very fabric of the country and the gains made since independence.

“We cannot allow the country to fall into the hands of criminal gangs as this will lead to the destruction of the country,” the Minister emphasised.

He said Police Research Units and Intelligence Divisions would be strengthened to study the emergence of these gangs, including rising cases of social disorders such as rape, homicide, gender violence and crimes against children and parents.


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