, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Human Rights Watch has called on Kenyan authorities to condemn recent violence, rein in on any police abuses and investigate scores of killings, most of them blamed on security agencies during the prolonged electoral period.
With the political tensions still high, the rights group says it is crucial for Kenyan authorities to ensure that any use of force by police is lawful and urgently investigate all the killings.
Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch Otsieno Namwaya says they have recorded 67 killings between August 8 and October 26 election, most by gunshot, during protests by opposition supporters after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner.
“Political violence has surged with people getting killed every day,” Namwaya said.
“Yet again, we are getting worrying reports that police are using excessive force, beating and killing protesters and even those not participating in protests.”
Namwaya says government officials should condemn the killings and ensure that there are thorough and independent investigations in a bid to bring the culprits to book as well as establish the role of any armed groups in the violence.
Five people were killed during NASA leader Raila Odinga’s ‘grand’ welcome from the United States, though human right organisations accuses security personnel of killing them, National Police Service spokesperson George Kinoti has since denied the claims.
He said, most of them were killed by mob justices after they were found “stealing from members of the public.”
On November 19, opposition supporters engaged police in running battles in many parts of Nairobi as they protested the killing of another five people by unidentified attackers.
The bodies of four men and one woman, believed to be opposition supporters, were found along the Nairobi-Thika highway near their homes in Riverside neighborhood, Ruaraka area.
They were apparently killed either by gunshots or machetes.
Though local leaders and residents have accused outlawed Mungiki of killing them and carrying out other ethnic cleansing killings, Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome, dismissed the allegations but promised to investigate.
“Kenya has to put an end to the culture of election-related violence, unlawful killings by police, and impunity for abusive officers,” Namwaya asserted.