, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – The Law Society of Kenya and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) on Monday announced that they were carrying out investigations into the use of teargas against children at a school in Lang’ata with the view of prosecuting those found culpable.
In a statement, the LSK said they would be carrying out the investigations in liaison with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and IPOA.
The society has therefore constituted a taskforce chaired by Kituo cha Sheria Executive Director Gertrude Angote to spearhead the investigations and subsequent prosecutions.
A total of 10 members will comprise the taskforce and in addition to Angote include: Dennis Mosota, Anthony Mulekyo, John Chigiti, Rose Mbanya, Julie Soweto, Michael Muchemi, Oscar Sang, Haron Olando and Brenda Dora.
When announcing setting up of the taskforce, LSK chairman Eric Mutua described the act of using teargas on children as brutal and the “worst attack on our children since independence.”
He also said it was akin to the brutality meted out on school children in Soweto, South Africa during the apartheid era.
He however, “acknowledged,” the suspension of the officer in charge of the operations at the time of the incident with the LSK statement explaining that they plan to record statements from the affected school children and the Lang’ata Road Primary School management with the aim of ascertaining where the blame lies.
On Monday morning, teargas was unleashed on the pupils of Lang’ata Road Primary School as they protested the alleged land grabbing of their playground as they attempted to bring down the walls that sought to keep them out of the disputed piece of property.
The use of teargas on children has attracted wide public condemnation including from the leader of the opposition Raila Odinga and Save the Children whose Country Director has described the events as, “sad and inhumane,” and in contravention of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Kenyan constitution.
It however remains unclear exactly who was responsible for the release of the teargas with a video shot by Capital FM News showing a man clad in a blue jacket and jeans pick an already active teargas canister off the ground and turn it in the direction of the protesting school children.