NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Joyce Andeyo was carrying out her business in Ongata Rongai as usual when a police vehicle arrived.
Andeyo was not distracted since she had not committed any offence warranting the attention of the police.
The mother of three went on attending to her customers, thinking the police were doing their normal security routines of ensuring law and order prevails.
But before she could finish attending to her customers, a police officer who was accompanied by three others alighted from the vehicle and went directly to her.
“We want you to come with us to the police station,” those were the words of the officer according to the vendor, when she demanded to know why she was being arrested.
The officer only said, “You are a suspect” without delving into more details, to a now terrified Andeyo.
After the officer insisted that she must accompany them, Andeyo requested for time so that she could phone a friend to stand in for her, while she was with the police.
“You see, I cannot afford to lose business and I have three kids to feed and rent to pay. I am their father and mother,” 31 years old Andeyo told Capital FM news of the 19th August incident. “The officer refused to grant me permission.”
The officer, a lady, was agitated by what she saw as disrespect and called her counterparts, who had remained in the car.
“The madam told one of her colleague that I have refused to board the car,” she said. “The officer alighted and slapped me instantly while another, who was wearing civilian clothes started twisting my left hand.
I was forcefully lifted and directed to the vehicle after a thorough beating, which would have continued were it not for members of the public who came to my rescue. The vehicle sped off after the lady officer realized that the public was recording and taking pictures of the incident.”
Even as they headed to Kandisi police post, Andeyo said the officers kept on beating her.
“The beating went on even at the police post…officer Kingori specifically hit me on my limbs,” a visibly emotional Andeyo recalled.
The officer also crashed her phone still at the police post.
She was later transferred to Ongata Rongai police station, where the OCS, after seeing her condition ordered the police to rush her to hospital.
Two health centres, she recalled, refused to attend to her due to the nature of the injuries and was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital.
Her left hand had been fractured-she still has the cast – while her medical reports indicate that one of her kidney’s was injured.
Andeyo through the help of Independent Medico Legal Unit and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) is demanding for justice.
“I want to know why they attacked me. I know we have been having issues with another woman, who owns a big business just near my kiosk. Though her business is well established, she has been accusing me of ‘stealing’ her customers despite mine being a mere kiosk.
“I cannot pay rent because the officers did this to me. How do they want us to live in this country?
I have also not been able to take one of my children, who is mentally challenged, to hospital since I have been in hiding for 3 weeks now after the officers started asking me to withdraw the case or else they will kill me.
I have also been receiving threatening calls but I have asked them to allow me to heal so that I can at least move on with my life.”
Her case has since been dropped without charges.
Her case is no different from what thousands of Kenyans continues to undergo through the hands of rogue police officers.
A new survey by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit covering the last five years indicates that 30.3 percent of Kenyans are victims of torture or ill treatment.
According to the survey, 63.9 percent of the victims reside in urban and peri-urban poor areas of the country with the main perpetrators being the regular police at 59.3 percent and the Administration Police at 18.5 percent.
According to IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama, the cases are on the rise while pointing out that some of the methods used to inflict torture and ill treatment remains strangulation, beatings and shootings.
“Sadly, most of the incidents of torture and ill treatment happen within the context of law enforcement, with 39.4 percent,” he said.
According to the survey, most of the cases took place in police cells (39.4pc), at home (31.5pc), on the way to police station (21.6pc) and the time of arrest (19.6pc).
“Despite the fact that Kenya has been undergoing comprehensive reforms in the security services sector, with the aim to transform from a force into a service, this is not quite reflected on the ground. This is further corroborated by the increase in those who were primary victims of torture (30.3pc) as compared at those of the last survey conducted in 2011 (23pc)” he pointed out.
Besides police, other state agencies identified as perpetrators of torture include prison warders, special police squads, private militia allegedly funded by the state and national intelligence officers.
Speaking during the release of the report, Amnesty Kenya Director Justus Nyang’aya has urged Parliament to enact the Prevention of Torture Bill 2016 and the National Coroners Service Bill 2016, which will enable credible and independent investigations of all unnatural deaths.
His sentiments were echoed by Kiama who says that, “sadly, the current legislative framework assumes that torture is only committed by members of the National; Police Service, The Kenya Defence Force, Chiefs and the National Intelligence Service yet torture is also perpetrated by prison officers, county law enforcement offices, KWS officers and private militia.”
About 2,400 people were interviewed during the survey, in all the 47 Counties.