The anger and shock that gripped Kenyans following recent incident in which high school students were found in possession of drugs has been redirected to the police. The rage was caused by offensive photos of a girl found in possession of bhang, which circulated on social media, an incident that could lead to lifetime psychological torture to the student. The pictures showing her lower body and her chest was taken with a police woman posing by her side.
Yesterday, Inspector General Joseph Boinnet released a statement saying the officer who took the pictures of the school girl who was found with rolls of bhang had been interdicted.
"We are considering taking disciplinary action on the officer especially for distributing the photos on social media after completion of investigations," Boinnet said
Yielding to pressure from the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), Boinett said investigations on the incident had begun and if the officer is found culpable, action would be taken.
In a letter to IPOA, IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama condemned the police action as “unprofessional” and “unethical” and called for not only disciplinary but criminal proceedings against the officer.
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Kiama asserted that the search had infringed into the student’s dignity and worse, contravened article 53 (1) and (2) of the Constitution that is meant to protect children’s rights. Moreover, the letter asked the Communications Authority of Kenya to block websites circulating the photos.
IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru decried the illegality of the officer’s action, and said they had commenced investigations into the incident.
A 33-seater matatu was last week intercepted by officers from the Sagana Traffic Police base while ferrying students, among them the girl who was in possession of bhang.
The public was outraged by the photos circulating on social media and besides condemning the students actions, was equally shocked by the indignity of the police search and the outright exposure of the minors.
The girl whose photos have been circulating on social media was among 41 from various schools in Nyeri and Karatina who had hired a bus plying the Kayole route to bring them to Nairobi after closing for August holidays on Wednesday.
Angry villagers intercepted the bus on the Karatina-Nairobi road and called the police. The villagers claimed the students were drinking, smoking and engaging in sex, while hurling insults to people on various stop-overs.
A Form Four student at Kanyama High School in Nyeri County has since pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, but has not been sentenced after the magistrate ordered for her probation and school report.
The other students were released for lack of evidence after police failed to link bhang recovered in the matatu to any of them.
The IMLU letter also calls for strong action to be taken on the bus driver and conductor, who it claimed, as adults should have known better and guided the youths. Meanwhile, they both have been charged with carrying excess passengers and operating on an undesignated route.