NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Civil societies are up in arms over the rising cases of extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances, citing the recent killing of controversial Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo in Mombasa.
Speaking to journalists in Nairobi on Thursday, the activists accused the government of condoning the acts claiming that there had been eight such incidences between February and June this year.
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive Director Atsango Chesoni said the country’s security agencies must step up their efforts to correct the injustices and bring the culprits to book.
“There is a much deeper structural issue at play. If we had been handling our issues in a manner that was efficient we should not have gotten to that situation in the first place,” she argued.
“I think it is very important that as a public we keep asking about the fundamentals and not react to the symptoms that we are seeing,” she added.
The organisations cited the disappearances of Ngoy Kayembe and Shani Lydia in February, Samir Khan and Mohammed Kassim in March, Musa Osodo and Jacob Matheka in May and Steven Osaka and Jeremiah Okumu in June.
They noted that while Khan’s mutilated body was found in Tsavo National Park a few days after his disappearance, the whereabouts of the rest remain unknown.
“These are just a few of the many people recorded as missing. What they have in common is criminal charges given their alleged association with Al Shabaab and they were last seen in the presence of men identified as police officers except in the cases of Osaka and Okumu,” they observed.
The non-governmental organisations further asked the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, to extend the mandate of the taskforce that had been established to look into Rogo’s death to cover the disappearances of other Kenyans as well.
“We also demand that due process be followed and investigations into the crimes that occurred during the protests be investigated with equal measure,” said Chesoni.
The civil societies further expressed concern at the delayed reforms in the security sector saying there is need to appoint an Inspector General, the Deputy Inspector General as well as the Police Service Commission.
Chesoni added that the country’s leadership was focused on the upcoming elections with little regard for other national concerns noting that the Commandant of Administration Police had resigned to try his luck in politics.
“Who is addressing security matters? Where are the State officers who are supposed to be ensuring security matters right now? The focus of both our technocrats and our political leadership is campaigning for the next election,” argued Chesoni.
KHRC Commissioner Davis Malombe also accused the police of shoddy investigations in the wake of heightened violence in various parts of the country.
“A government that cannot take care of its people does not deserve to govern and lead them. The government must ensure law and order because that is its ultimate responsibility,” he argued.
The activists also wanted to know what efforts the government had put in place to prevent a repeat of the clashes that had been witnessed in Mombasa, Tana River and Northern Kenya.
“We want the government to inform the public what measures it is undertaking to investigate the root causes of the tension and violence witnessed in various parts of Kenya in the last month,” said Chesoni.
The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Katiba Institute and the Africa Center for Open Governance were also present.