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Police officer using music to preach peace

By Rosemary Onchari | Updated Wed, February 15th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
Jacob Matara has released the single Askari ni Rafiki to pass on his message. [photo: courtesy]

Twenty-nine-year-old Jacob Matara from Nyankami village, Nyamira County is an Administration Police Officer on a mission to bridge the gap between police officers and the public.

The officer, based in Kisii County, arrived at this decision following a childhood experience.

HIS STORY

When I was in class five, police officers stormed into our house as we were taking dinner. They picked my elder brother and started hitting him on his head, arms and legs and then went away with him without telling us anything.

It was not until we went to the police station that we learned our brother was being punished for allegedly abusing one of the rich men in the village. He was later proven innocent and while our brother was released back to us, our family was left to incur huge medical bills and none of the officers ever came to apologise for their actions.

This instilled a burning desire in me to join the force and play a key role in ensuring there is cordial relationship between police and the public they serve.

It would be a couple of years before my dream came true but I eventually joined the force in 2006 and was posted in Samburu where I would consistently ask my colleagues to treat suspects with fairness.

After two years, I was transferred to Kisii and immediately set about getting permission from our head office to initiate campaigns that would sensitise the public of their rights.

To do this, I turned to my second passion — music — and recorded a song, Askari ni rafiki (police are your friends). He then sought assistance from six of his colleagues and together they used the music to preach a message of peace during public rallies and in churches.

I am determined to ensure the perception many Kenyans have of police officers as inhuman is changed. It is not fair to stereotype an entire force because of a few bad apples.

Apart from this, I am also involved in working with street children. Those that are willing, I get them off the street and into a local children’s home where I support them. Those who are not yet ready, I ensure to keep visiting them in the streets where I regularly bring them food and clothes.

I am a father of many children.


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