When slow investigations impede justice

April 8, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Kenya’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has shown little or no commitment at all, in probing serious cases of murder, carjackings and other capital offences which have lately become common in the country.

Little progress is registered on major cases of concern, despite numerous press conferences at Police headquarters which seek to restore confidence in the public that something is being done.

What with the killing of Oscar Foundation Executive Director Kamau King’ara and his Project Officer Paul Oulu who were executed in Nairobi on March 5.

To date, no suspect has been arrested over the murder and police still insist investigations are in progress.

A University of Nairobi student who was shot dead on the same night as students protested the killing of the two human rights officials, equally remains a mystery which is yet to be resolved.

When the student was killed, Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe sent a statement to newsrooms and admitted his officers who had been sent to quell the student’s riots were responsible for the killing.

He even announced the arrest of three officers who had been arrested over the murder and apologized to the family of the student and the university fraternity for the unfortunate incident.

A week later, Mr Kiraithe denied the officers were involved in the shooting and said the Commissioner of Police had ordered for their release.

“Their firearms have been examined by ballistic experts and it has been confirmed none of them was involved in the killing. Which then means they will have to be released so that we look for the killers of the student,” Mr Kiraithe said, contradicting his earlier statement.
And since then, no major development has been reported apart from the now cliché ‘we are still investigating the matter’.

The question that still begs is: who killed the two human rights officials and the student.

Does it mean, our police officers are completely unable to get the killers of these three people?

The Police Commissioner Maj General Mohammed Hussein Ali has repeatedly insisted his force is capable of carrying the investigations and even dismissed calls to have help from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

And even as Kenyans wait to be told the killers of the late King’ara, Oulu and the university student, more and more killings are being reported, raising more worries on our safety.

Barely two days passes without reports of a murder, mainly in Nairobi.

In the past two weeks alone, three people have been killed under mysterious circumstances.

On April 2, Chief Inspector Henry Anunda of the CID headquarters was carjacked and shot dead alongside his son Josphat who was a student at the United States International University (USIU).

Bodies of the two were found in a coffee plantation in Kiamumbi on Kamiti road.

Kasarani divisional Police chief Jaspa Ombati said the two were robbed of their vehicles, money and other personal belongings. The vehicle has not been recovered to date.

A statement from police headquarters blamed Members of the outlawed Mungiki sect for the killings.

By Wednesday, no suspect had been arrested over the killings, raising more questions over the effectiveness of our CID officers who are charged with the sole responsibility of detecting and investigating such crimes.

CID director Mr Karanja Gatiba was not immediately available for comment.

Bust asked to comment about the CID’s effectiveness in investigations, Mr Kiraithe defended the unit and said it had done ‘tremendous work.’

Some senior officers at the CID headquarters who spoke to Capital News do not share this view and instead insists that lack of resources is to blame for lack of proper investigations in the country.

“There is no adequate facilitation on investigators, our forensic labs are not working that is what is killing the morale of many officers,” a senior CID officer said.

The latest killing is that has puzzled many Kenyans is that of a City resident Magistrate Rogers Fundi who was found murdered and his body dumped outside a bar off North Airport Road in Embakasi on Monday morning.

Police and witnesses said the magistrate’s body had bruises on the neck, and blood was oozing from the mouth.

“It also had an injury that appeared like a stab wound on the chest,” Embakasi divisional Police chief David Bunei said.

“It does not appear to us that he was killed here; there are no signs of struggle at all. He must have been killed elsewhere and his body dumped here. We are investigating the matter,” Mr Bunei said.

Kenyans are indeed waiting to see how best the police will handle investigations on these latest killings and several others committed before.


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