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Muhuri drops PEV victims' lawsuits

NAIROBI
By Kevine Omollo | January 21st 2020

PEV survivor David Otieno Obare at his home. [Kevine Omollo]

A rights group has shelved plans to sue the government on behalf of 2017 post-election violence victims in Nyanza.

Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) had in April last year said it would seek justice for the more than 200 victims of police brutality in Kisumu and Nyamira counties.

But in an interview, the chairman of the Muhuiri board Khalef Khalifa said most of the cases lack adequate evidence.

“This is one thing that angers me because poor people were killed and no one pays attention," said Mr Khalifa.

"We've sent all evidence to our lawyers in Nairobi but unfortunately, it is not enough. Cases that can stand trial must have OB, P3 forms, postmortem reports, death and burial certificates; we cannot find all those documents."

In mid last year, there was hope for justice for victims of police brutality after an inquest into the death of baby Samantha Pendo found that police were culpable.

Implicated officers

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Senior Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo implicated five police officers - former County Commander Titus Yoma, AP Commandant Joseph Koima, former OCPD Mutune Maweu, former Kisumu Central OCS John Thiringi and a police inspector called Linah Kogey.

Ms Omollo said the officers were in charge of operations in Nyalenda area where the violence took place.

Pendo died from internal injuries after she was beaten by police officers who broke into her parent's house.

Muhuri had said that verdict was a boost to the search for justice for the other victims who did not go to court.

But as the rights group started collecting evidence, victims narrated how they had been denied an opportunity to record police statements, a situation that weakened their cases.

During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first visit to the region in December 2018, following the reconciliatory 'handshake' with opposition leader Raila Odinga, the victims had hoped he would address their compensation demands.

This, however, did not happen. Khalifa has blamed lack of political goodwill for the setbacks experienced in the push for justice. He said the situation has seen many victims languish in poverty after suffering injuries that left them unable to work.

According to a report from the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, Kisumu was the hardest hit by the violence in the whole country.

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