Lobby group wants Dialogue Committee to discuss police brutality

Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton gives his presentation before the Senate ADHOC Committee investigating the Shakahola deaths at Parliament on July 5, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Amnesty International Kenya now wants the National Dialogue Committee (NDC) to prioritize the discussion on police brutality during the just-ended anti-government protests.

In an open letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly on September 7, the organization's Executive Director Irung’u Houghton shared issues that they believe are of concern to the public.

“We focus the attention of the National Dialogue Committee on the pressing issue of unlawful use of lethal police force, extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances, and the inordinate delay in securing justice for those seeking police accountability,” Haughton stated.

The human rights organization has listed a number of issues that they would want the dialogue committee to discuss and provide long-lasting solutions.

Houghton said that the NDC should embark on a fact-finding mission to counties like Nairobi, Nyanza, and the coastal region where people experienced police brutality on a high level during the protests.

The group has further urged the committee to call on the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to refrain from defending the indecent acts by the officers during the period.

“Require the Inspector General of Police to publicly commit not to shield any of his officers accused of brutality, provide police data on police killings, and enforced disappearances in Kenya, and respond to the Missing Voices Alliance data on police killings and enforced disappearances,” he added.

According to Missing Voices Alliance, police officers are accused of killing 94 people, and four were reported missing between January and August 2023. The majority of the victims were killed in the anti-government protests.

The group wants the committee to compel Koome to apologize to victims of police brutality and update on the progress of the investigations on the extrajudicial killings.

The rights organization also wants Attorney General Justin Mututi, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Professor Kithure Kindiki, and the National Assembly to expedite the implementation of the Prevention of Torture Act and operationalise the National Coroners Service Act.

Houghton called on NDC to encourage the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to expedite investigations and prosecutions into the circumstances surrounding the reported deaths during the protests.

Amnesty wants a review and repeal of Kenyan laws and regulations on using force and firearms and public order management.

The dialogue committee is scheduled to start the talks on September 11 and which are supposed to take place within 30 days after which the 10-member committee is expected to give a report in Parliament.