Kinoti, Haji should act fast and have Nakuru officials punished

The sickening story of how the County Government of Nakuru rounded up 41 children from the town’s streets and dumped them nearly 80km away evokes pity and anger.

Pity that the youngsters had to endure a cold night in a place they didn’t know and anger because it on those who have been deprived of humanity who could possibly commit such an act. It is only the most inhumane who will pack a lorry with children and go and dump them in the wild.

In yet another sad story, a family is crying foul over the mysterious disappearance of their 13-year-old daughter. Her family had reported to the police that she had been raped. Like everybody else, the family felt that they were in safe hands. The police ordered for a routine medical check-up to establish the facts of the claim. She underwent the checkup. But then something happened and which the police have offered an implausible explanation.

That she ran off with the documents from the doctor with the two policemen in hot pursuit. She is still missing. The family can smell a rat: the police are engaging in yet another crass cover up. They should not be let to get away with it. 

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Both cases are an illustration of misuse of authority to propagate impunity and injustice in the society: those who sanctioned the enforced translocation of the street children should be held criminally liable for their act. Those children would have loved to grow up in a family with love and care and feel appreciated. For no mistake of their own making, they found themselves out on the cold streets abandoned, scavenging for leftovers in the gutter. To someone at the Nakuru Country office, the helpless children were a nuisance and an eyesore. In their warped thinking, the streets needed to be rid of these miserable ones.

There is a better way round that. The world over, wary of the potential of the abandoned youngsters to engage in drugs and crime and prostitution, cities have come up with rehabilitation programmes that include providing street children with shelter and food – at times exhorting families to take in abandoned children - in addition to vocational training and other initiatives that give promised and hope to the affected.

Not so in Nakuru. The acts of the officers contravene human rights, morality and is outrightly illegal. In fact, it can be equated to a crime against humanity.Under the United Nations’ Convention for the Protection of all persons from Enforced Disappearance, it is illegal to translocate anyone against their will. The Convention warns that “no order or instruction from any public authority, civilian, military or other, may be invoked” to justify enforced disappearance.

In which case therefore, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the head of the DCI George Kinoti should quickly move in and hold the officers criminally culpable for enforced disappearance. As spelt out in the Convention, they should also get orders for restitution, rehabilitation and guarantees that it won’t happen again.

This country has grappled with post-election violence that often lead to forced displacement, death and destruction. If nothing, the DPP and DCI should let this serve to deter would-be-offenders from carrying out forced displacement of whatever nature and for whatever reason.

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County GovernmentDirector of Public ProsecutionsNoordin HajiDCI George KinotiGovernment