Johnstone Sakaja hits out at police over clampdown

Kenya: The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Cohesion may launch investigations into the ongoing police operation dubbed Usalama Watch, which it says may have significantly weakened national cohesion.

The chairperson of the Joint Committee of the Senate and National Assembly Johnson Sakaja Wedsnesday said police abuses during the operation had left many Kenyans with a deep sense of resentment and isolation, especially in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The nominated MP claimed that the operation had degenerated into extortion of money and robbing of household items, especially in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, where thousands of people were arrested and detained in Kasarani Stadium recently.

“The operation was meant to secure the country but has been mishandled by police on the ground. People have been humiliated and violated in the name of fighting insecurity and many are not feeling like they are Kenyans,” he said.  Many people have reported losing cash and other valuables such as gold and electronic goods when police conduct house searches.

Discontent

On his part, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Prof Abdulghafur Al-Busaidy said that police brutality and abuses meted out on people in Nairobi and Mombasa during the ongoing operation had created widespread discontent and resentment against the Government.

He said police were humiliating the people they arrest, making them to feel like “second-class persons”.

“Urgent steps are needed by State and non-state actors to address the trauma faced by many people especially those of Somali and Muslim faith. Many of them no longer feel Kenyan and feel isolated by the State that is meant to serve them,” he said.

He also called on the Government to treat immigrants and asylum seekers with dignity rather than demonising them as a “security threat”.

“Most of the refugees in the country are making a positive contribution to the socio-economic development of the country. They have invested in businesses and are creating jobs. They should not be blamed for insecurity,”” he said.