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Police brutality in corona operation draws groups’ ire

By Stevens Muendo | November 11th 2020
Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the operation would continue to ensure safety measures were obeyed.

National Police Commission chairman Eliud Kinuthia has warned police officers who behave unprofessionally during operations that they will be disciplined.

This follows an outcry over alleged human rights abuse by officers enforcing Covid-19 regulations last week.

Mr Kinuthia spoke after watching a video where police officers were captured beating up a civilian in an entertainment joint before walking away with alcohol.

“This is unprofessional. They should remind people to go home or wait for those out after curfew. Destroying property is misconduct,” he said.

After President Uhuru Kenyatta warned last week that hotels, bars and restaurants found open after 9pm would invite stern action, a police operation resulted in the arrest of scores of revellers.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the operation would continue to ensure safety measures were obeyed.

“All police officers across the country have been instructed to enforce the Covid-19 protocols and regulations in strict compliance with the rule of law,” he said.

But it was the harsh enforcement of the law that led civil society groups to urge Mr Mutyambai to ensure police do not assault civilians.

“Our experience is that security agencies, particularly the police, have time and again failed to enforce regulations and instead used them to harass, intimidate, torture and even kill Kenyans,” read a joint statement by 15 civil society groups, which included Haki Africa, Kituo cha Haki Kibera and Wanawake Mashinani Initiative.

The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) also said it was unfortunate and ‘totally unacceptable’ what their members had experienced in the past few days at the hands of law enforcers.

“We are extremely shocked by the footage we have watched from businesses and their staff,” said Perak chairperson Alice Opee.

In Nairobi, most of the targeted entertainment spots were in Lang’ata, Kilimani, Mombasa Road, Utawala, Kiambu Road, Ngong Road and Thika Road where revellers were found partying after the 9pm deadline.

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There was drama in Nakuru as revellers engaged police in battle, pelting them with beer bottles and cans before the officers lobbed teargas canisters into the entertainment joint. During the operation, 86 revellers were arrested. 

Covid 19 Time Series


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