Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji yesterday flew into a storm in Kisumu when he met the relatives of victims of police brutality during the last polls.
Mr Haji addressed open forums in Manyatta and Obunga slums where police shot and beat residents during the height of protests after President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected in August 2017.
The DPP faced complaints over delayed justice for the parents of six-month-old Baby Samantha Pendo who was hit and killed after officers stormed houses in Nyalenda to flush out protestors.
Eight months ago, a Kisumu court recommended the prosecution of five senior police officers over the infant’s death, but Haji’s office is yet to take any action.
As Haji visited Kisumu, the parents of Stephanie Moraa – a nine-year-old girl shot dead by police in Nairobi’s Mathare estate during the same period – were protesting delays in finding justice for their daughter.
George Mokaya and his wife Damacline, who spoke to The Standard in Kisii town, said a case against five officers who were at the scene where Moraa was killed is being heard at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.
“Stephanie Moraa, who was a Class Four pupil at Mathare Primary School, met her death while playing with her friends on the balcony of our home. She was not anywhere near the people demonstrating to warrant the killing,” said Mr Mokaya.
Baby Pendo’s case featured prominently in Haji’s meetings even as the DPP assured residents that his officers were handling the case.
Kisumu Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo, who presided over Baby Pendo’s inquest, had ordered the DPP to take the necessary action against the suspects.
But Haji defended the delays, saying his office needed more evidence to build a strong case. He assured that the file would be ready by the end of the month.
“The Baby Pendo case is about to be completed. We will ensure that those who led to her death will face the law,” he said.
Forty-six junior officers could also be in trouble after the court declared them persons of interest in the Kisumu violence and ordered the DPP to investigate their conduct during the security operation that left the lakeside town bleeding.
Kisumu City Residents Voice chair Audi Ogada read a petition by residents that asked why no officers had been prosecuted over the baby’s death.
During the meeting at Kosawo Hall, Mr Ogada and fellow human rights activists presented Haji with a file containing the names of 400 people they claimed were injured by police.
Ogada said it was the victims’ hope that they would get justice. “If we cannot get justice under you, Mr Haji, we doubt if we will ever get justice,” he said.
Reports from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights showed that 20 bodies were received at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital between August 8 and 25, 2017.
The reports also showed that between October 2 and 16, at least 91 victims were treated at the hospital, with 12 of them having gunshot wounds.