7, August: The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) through its Chairperson, Macharia Njeru released a statement Monday, saying IPOA and Kenyans at large do not expect the Kenya Police to engage in any acts that could lead to the loss of lives and expects them to conduct themselves with the highest level of professionalism.
"While enforcing the law, Schedule six of the National Police Service Act is very clear that Police officers must always attempt to use non-violent means first. If they must, force may only be employed when non-violent means have failed. Secondly, the force used must be proportional to the desired objective or the seriousness of the offence. And, if at all this happens, it must only be to the extent necessary and with strict adherence to the provision of the law and the Standing Orders," read the statement.
The Nyanza regional coordinator, Mr Wilson Njenga has said it was by coincidence that the body bags were part of the several First Aid and Emergency preparedness equipment donated to the police a head of the elections. “We received many items including stretchers, medicine, gloves, among others. There was no ill motive in the body bags,” said Mr Njenga.
Mr Njenga also said the Police will only help IEBC to enforce a law that required voters to stay 400m away from the polling stations after casting their ballots “Our is to enforce the law. We will not act outside the law,” said Mr Njenga.
Emergency kits donation
On Friday, Police received first aid and disaster preparedness equipment including hundreds of body bags ahead of the August 8 elections. The officers received gloves, stretchers, first aid kits and other emergency materials as part of preparedness to deal with casualties in case of violence during and after the elections.
The equipment was handed over to the Administration Police Commander Joseph Keitany by a Non-Government Organisation on Friday. Top security officials in Nyanza led by Regional Coordinator Wilson Njenga said the body bags were to boost preparedness for weighty events such as elections.
"We will use these kits including the body bags in cases of emergency or accidents or casualties arising from the election," said Mr Njega.
He ruled out claims they were pre-empting either deaths or fatalities arising from the election, saying such preparations were being put in place by all systems. "The Kenya Red Cross team are ready with first aid and medical kits, so the police is not an exception. This is a routine exercise," he said.
Addressing the media in Kisumu, Njenga said they would not allow anybody to gather outside polling stations apart from accredited voters or election observation mission.
He said police were under instructions to deal with those defying the directive. [Kepher Otieno]
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