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Have kind word for the police, Interior CS Matiang'i pleads

By Jael Mboga | November 23rd 2018

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i. [Photo, File]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'I says the police also suffer in the course of enforcing the law but the public cares little about them.

Speaking on Friday Matiang'i in Nairobi Friday, the CS criticised the public for being quick to accuse officers of brazen killings.

Cases of extrajudicial killings have increased, with the majority being reported at the Coast.

But the CS said too much time is spent on talk about police brutality and little on civilian brutality.

"Nobody wants to address the officers' pain," he said at the Law, Governance and Democracy meeting.

He cited deaths of young officers who leave behind young families.

"There is nothing as painful as meeting widows of young officers … it is pain you cannot describe," the CS added, painting a different picture of law enforcers commonly seen as trigger-happy.

Speaking at the meeting also attended by Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and Independent Police Oversight Authority representatives, Matiang'i urged NGOs to educate the public on exercising their rights without hurting the police.

During protests residents have been reported to hurl stones and sometimes teargas canisters at the anti-riot police.

Some of the demonstrations have led to deaths, the most prominent being that of Baby Pendo in Kisumu of which police are accused. The inquest is still ongoing.

In a rejoinder, the CS, who threw his weight behind the police, said the public needs to change its attitude towards law enforcers.

On extrajudicial killings, Matiang'i admitted that indeed there are a few rogue officers.

"There are a few bad cops, and we will not hide or defend them," he said.

He said cases of extrajudicial killings were not always reported in full. There are instances where youth are killed during raids that also claim officers' lives, the CS added.

He said officers who commit crimes should be disarmed and arrested.

The CS cited a case in Kilifi where an officer is accused of raping a girl in a police station.

He said immediately he learnt of the rape from a Woman Representative, he called the local police boss and the IG.

According to Matiang'I the local police boss wanted the matter to go through the normal police disciplinary procedure officially referred to as Room Proceedings but he would have none of that.

So, the officer was disarmed, arrested and treated like other criminal suspects.

 As investigations continue, the man is in custody.

Matiang'I called on IPOA to work with the Interior ministry to improve investigative transparency.

"Kenyans want to see numbers; how many cases are reported, how many are being investigated and how many cases have been closed."

In the past, cases have been compromised when administrators said the culprits were transferred or the files disappeared, claims Matiang'I said should not be tolerated as they hurt public confidence in the police.

The Interior ministry and civil society will set up a platform where security projects are shared with the public. Citizens will access information on their rights and policing, the CS said.    

The CS also urged the public to support the police in streamlining security, even as he disbanded the Firearms Licensing Board over claims of impropriety and said to reconstitute a new one.



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