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Police killed, no public outrage: Don't their lives matter?

By Yvonne Okwara | July 18th 2016

This is my take on what was easily the most horrifying story in the country – the brazen attack at a police station in Kapenguria where at least seven police officers, including the OCS were killed. 

Days later, the story of what really happened before the attack or its real motivation remains a very convoluted stories. This is thanks, in no small part, to the confusing stories given by the police service itself about the attack.

An attack on a police station is no small matter. It is an attack on the very core of our security sector. On the very people we expect to keep us safe.

Bear in mind that this is not the first time. Remember the bomb that went off outside Pangani police station killing 4 including 2 police men? How about the appalling attack in Suguta valley? That ambush killed 42 police officers  4 years ago!

No public outrage

For starters, I expected more from my President, Uhuru Kenyatta on the Kapenguria incident. Granted, he mourned the officers on Friday24 hours later. I expected outrage, an address to the nation; a live television address at that.

This is one of those moments that requires an interruption of my normal TV viewing, my normal life in fact! A stern warning that those who give their life in service for their country will be protected; that anyone who dares attack them will face swift justice. The address never came.

Worse still was the silence from other leaders. No statement from the Cabinet Secretary under whom the police service falls. Not a word from Opposition leader Raila Odinga who still has a keen interest in being the Commander-in-Chief. No word from his co-principals either.Never mind that all these leaders enjoy personal protection from police officers.

And where is the Civil Society?

Compare this with the reaction in the USA recently when 5 police officers were murdered in Dallas while, ironically, guarding a protest against the action of their own colleagues. President Barack Obama made a statement from Warsaw, calling it a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.” He in fact cut short his trip by a day and returned home. Days later, he attended the memorial service for the 5 officers and made a moving speech.

In Kenya, the families are still pleading with the government to support the young wives and children left behind. They will bury their loved ones on their own despite the fact that they worked and died while keeping over 40 million Kenyans safe.

If the killing of 7 police officers during peace time has become the new normal in Kenya, then woe unto the 40 million Kenyans who look up to the uniformed men and women for protection every day.

That’s my take!


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