Alston report: work of a bigoted activist

June 3, 2009 12:00 am

, GENEVA – It must first be recognised that the report of the UN Rapporteur, Prof Alson was officially dismissed by the Kenya Government as a baseless concoction and fabrications devoid of even an iota of fact. We will briefly explore the basis of this finding.

Given the extent of his mandate, it is inconceivable that anyone would have investigated the activities of Mungiki and the criminal SLDF in a mere ten days. This period is hardly enough to investigate chicken theft, let alone such complex social and security matters.

For the duration Alston was in Kenya, he spent a total of ONE HOUR with the Police divided into two sessions of 30 minutes each despite having been granted total access. During the brief ten days he was in the country, it was apparent for all to see that he arrived at Police offices merely to fulfil a mandatory requirement rather than establish the truth.

In fact, during the short 30 minute sessions he spent at Police Headquarters, he repeatedly complained that he would be late for other ‘important’ appointments and had to leave. He never attempted to visit one Police Station in the Republic. He cannot now complain that he was not assisted.

The summary by Prof. Alston provides little substance beyond unfortunate obsession with the Police and wild allegations lacking even an iota of proof.

Even more unfortunate, is the inescapable fact that Prof Alson was handed a written document by Kenyan activists to adopt as his own work. In his hurry to use plagiarised material, he failed to interrogate why the civil society organisations used unqualified persons to conduct post mortem examinations in Mt. Elgon.

In his overzealousness to condemn those he was instructed to, he has published some inexcusable falsehoods on paragraph 17 of his report he even claims to have received reports in company of police officers. 

Alston’s assertion that there was no need to assemble sufficient evidence to apportion blame to the Police is an astonishing disregard for due process and his deceitful misinterpretation of law. According to him, the fact that any unproved allegation had been made is sufficient reason to condemn the Government without the need for further proof! There is not the slightest precedent for such an absurdly astounding reasoning that that the absence of evidence is sufficient to apportion blame. All reports by Special Rapporteurs ( Amos Wako once served as one) are made not on the basis of information sufficient to sustain a conviction, but sufficient to require further investigation.

It is also common knowledge that the report comes against the backdrop of efforts by some “civil society” organisations with links to Mungiki who have taken on the role of eliciting public sympathy against efforts to restore law and order.

Their diversionary tactic is to distract public attention from the over 5,000 Mungiki members already prosecuted, including the leader Maina Njenga and the many  defectors executed by this gang.

Little, indeed no effort was made to carefully investigate each allegation specifically and to obtain credible evidence which is verified to the fullest extent possible.

It is noteworthy that despite the clearly available legal mechanisms, including the provision permitting private prosecutions, none have been taken advantage of. Given the resources available to the civil society organizations who have made these allegations, it is telling that none has sought to “bring the killers to book” by setting in motion the proceedings, or at the very least lodge formal complaints.

In summary, Alston suggests that he had three objectives: (a) to ascertain the types of unlawful killings; (b) to investigate whether those responsible are held to account; and (c) to propose constructive measures to reduce incidence of killings and “impunity”.  By the end of the summary and the report, it is sad to note that:

a.    Alston chose to concentrate exclusively on accusations against the Police. He did not find it necessary to ask about the hideous and systematic murder of citizens by Mungiki. Maybe he thought that the terrorist activity of Mungiki against Kenyans is not important. He however appeals to the criminals to stop killing!

b.    Alston did not identify even a single person responsible for specific killings despite his sensational accusations, sufficient to sustain any prosecution;

c.    The ‘recommendations’ he makes were handed to him by Kenyan activists keen to attract donor funding and are therefore neither interested in truth nor accuracy.

There are a number of factors that militate against any attempt to take the report seriously.  First, the sweeping findings and generalization by the commission is astonishing.  The obsession with the police is also evident in the three areas that the Rapporteur elected to concentrate on.

a.    Alston provides not an iota of evidence on the alleged killings by Police. All he has are wild allegations by the said civil society groups.

b.    Accusations of torture allegations against the police and military are based on similar allegations. However, these areas are outside the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and fall within the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture, an established office with the same United Nations Office.

c.    The Post election violence which was not a case of extrajudicial killings. Police action was in reaction to widespread politically instigated violence. This was arguably outside the parameters of his mandate as a Special Rapporteur.

The report is largely a cheap and well rehearsed, anti-police statement and bends over backwards to ensure that the result is skewed against the Government’s law enforcement machinery.

This, it appears was the basis of including questionable mandates like the  case of Mt. Elgon operations against an internal aggressor in the form of the Sabaot Land Defence Force, and the events following the December 2007 general elections – these cannot , by any stretch of imagination and rational thought have be deemed to have been Police instigated. Yes, police are not in cut-throat competitive politics.

In response to the various allegations made in the summary, the following issues have emerged. While the Rapporteur suggests that he interviewed Government officials and indeed falsified the people he actually met, his visits were extremely brief and hurried for reasons only he can explain. For instance, his deliberate decision to spend a mere one hour with the Commissioner of Police is adequate proof of ulterior motives.

Secondly, it can be proven that Alston did not interview “over 100 lengthy witnesses” as alleged, given that he did not even have time to even listen to the Director of CID. His entire report is fabricated and postulated entirely on the allegations of phantom witnesses supplemented by his own bias and prejudice. 

Additionally, Alston’s stated reliance on the Waki Report deliberately ignores Waki report’s own admission that the Commission did not find enough evidence. On Page 17, Waki explicitly states as follows:

“The evidence the Commission has gathered so far is not, in our assessment, sufficient to meet the threshold of proof required for criminal matters in this country: that is beyond reasonable doubt. It may even fall short of the proof required for international crimes against humanity.”
However, his continued insistence upon the existence of “death squads” is the same allegations carried by civil society organisations. His claim of an open-ended “squad” is a blatant falsehood.  A basic thorough investigation should have been able to provide information on its composition and location.

The allegation of lack of accountability is further evidence of the suppression and/or deliberate ignoring of information which was available and ignored by the Rapporteur citing a busy schedule. 

There have been over 600 disciplinary cases taken against Police Officers on the basis of complaints made, including the disposal of over two dozen cases related to killings by Police Officers.  Absolutely no mention of this is made by the special Rapporteur, calling into question the independence of the mission.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the Rapporteur did not bother to investigate the nature of Mungiki as a terrorist operation, its methods of operation, the infiltration and funding of certain civil society organisations. 

The allegations and generalisation of Police killings as being against “criminal gangs” is insulting to any objective audience to the extent that all of the allegations have in fact been made with regard to, and only on the allegations made regarding the said terrorist group.

On Mount Elgon, his investigation into the SLDF violence is outside the mandate as a Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and summary executions. It is clear that the Rapporteur did not bother to look at the Government response to the allegations which inter alia unearthed evidence of
(a) non-existent “victims”,
(b) the use of unqualified “medical practitioners” to conduct the post mortems and
(c) false and at times even comical “testimony” which included allegations by a “survivor” who claims to have been dropped from a flying helicopter and survived to tell the tale.

On the post-election violence, the Rapporteur only makes specific mention of allegations against Police, he conveniently makes no mention of the groups that killed others on the basis of ethnicity and political differences, or indeed the politicians who organized such acts. 

No mention is made of the fact that there are over 500 pending inquests as a mode of accountability. No consideration is given to the circumstances under which the deaths occurred. It is even questionable why the said events are included in the report while the same material was comprehensively covered by the Waki Commission and is the subject of legislation being drafted.

The final proof of Alston’s lack of impartiality is evident when the Rapporteur wrote to the Police to ask them to exonerate themselves from the murder of Oscar Kingara.

This case is currently under investigation, including efforts to ascertain the involvement of the deceased in criminal activity and his links to Mungiki. 

In the said investigations, there has been no evidence direct or indirect that the police were involved.  However, according to Alston, the Police stand condemned and must therefore exonerate themselves, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence at all. The same insinuations continue in the summary, without any specific investigation.

At the end of the day, the internal security of the nation and the safety of citizens against aggression, internal and external, is the responsibility of Kenyans and their Government.  The entire report is a compilation of self-serving civil society “complaints” against Police.

It is demonstrable that some portions of the main report are cut and pasted from reports and allegations from some of the organisations (see para 17 page 15).  Many of these complaints have been made purposefully and been funded from external sources.

In current investigations, it is clear that Mungiki have changed tact and have infiltrated the public opinion machinery. Further, it is also in the public domain that activities of the group have escalated following the release of the report.

While cases of human rights abuse cannot and will not be tolerated, it is essential that there be credibility in persons who are to independently investigate. 

This report unfortunately, does not lend itself to such credibility and must be rejected.  It would have been most useful for a truly independent report which gives some indication of plausible wrongdoing. 

But the security of Kenyan citizens shall not be battered by populist compilations lacking in investigative quality.

The report by Alston is too shallow and lacks an iota of independently verifiable facts that should elicit a point by point rebuttal. 

Its building blocks are rumors and utter lies. Its narrative was predetermined, and the substance is obviously false.  He moreover put himself on a pedestal to pass judgment on all institutions that deal with security when he admits that he didn’t have the time to do a credible report. 

Instead he elected to swallow or adopt reports by dodgy organisations lock, stock and barrel in a grave indictment on both him and the UN reporting system.

Third, the report upon closer scrutiny comes out as cheap exercise that panders to certain political power play. Reading the report carefully will lead to the inescapable conclusion that The Rapporteur had a mindset to find culpable certain institutions and individuals. 

In fact not an iota of evidence adduced by Government officials in critically analyzed.

Based on the above, the Kenya Police dismissed with contempt the entire report by Prof Alson as a baseless fabrication authored by local activists which lacks even the most rudimentary evidence.

Kiraithe E.K.
For: Commissioner of Police.

(Mr Kiraithe is the Police Spokesman)


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