NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 9 – Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso has dismissed claims that General Service Unit (GSU) officers assaulted activist Boniface Mwangi during a raid by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers targeting tax defaulters at the Pension Towers in Nairobi.
In a video that has been widely shared on social media, Mwangi is seen embroiled in a tussle with the officers in an incident he alleged was prompted by his inquiry on why the officers were conducting the arrests and why they were unwilling to produce proper identification documents when asked.
“Because l recorded them, the GSU officers wanted to take my phone, I refused and, in my attempt, to ran away, I fell. They caught up with me, and beat me up. Even after the beating l didn’t hand over my phone,” Mwangi alleged in a post that he posted in his Twitter account.
Shioso said that the officers were on lawful assigned duties of assisting the KRA officials to enforce the Nairobi County government collection obligations as part of their mandate.
He has discounted Mwangi’s claims and accused him of causing unnecessary drama during the raid with the aim of causing commotion so as to allow those who were arrested to escape.
“The subject activist was not assaulted but instead caused an unnecessary drama by running away and felling himself on the floor only to cause commotion that was meant to aid the escape of the arrested defaulters,” Shioso said.
While Mwangi was persistent with his desire to know the identities of the officers, Shioso noted that it was unnecessary at the time because “the police officers were fully dressed in their official uniforms and were armed with their official weapons”.
He added: “The exercise was conducted in broad daylight and in the open and with some defaulters already having been arrested by the enforcement team”.
Shioso noted that the actions by Mwangi were purely an act of defiance and aimed at painting the National Police Service in bad light.
“NPS regrets unnecessary situations staged for the camaras and aimed at escalating unnecessary tension between the police and the public. NPS is committed to improving relations between the police and the citizens and therefore calls upon the public to reciprocate these efforts by taking police officers as true partners in their enforcement mandate and not otherwise,” he said.