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IG Boinett come clean on rogue police who shoot, kill the innocent

OPINION
By Joe Ombuor | March 12th 2018
Inspector General Joseph Boinnet. [Photo: Courtesy]

Kenyans on Saturday ushered in a new era of unity. The likes of Inspector General Joseph Boinnet must be feeling restless in their posh seats if they are not ready to change with the times and realise that citizens are equal before the law regardless of their ethnicity or political inclination.

I recently watched on national television Mr Boinnet struggle to parry accusations that his men were responsible for the bludgeoning to death of six-month-old Baby Samantha Pendo in Kisumu and the shooting of 10-year-old Stephanie Moraa in Nairobi’s Mathare slums during last year’s post-election violence.

I pitied him for attempting to defend the indefensible to please his bosses for the sake of keeping his plum job. Kisumu and Mathare are heavily populated by opposition-leaning citizens.

I was reminded of the post-election executions of 2007 where a police officer was shown on video kicking and trampling on a young man he had shot in Kisumu’s Kondele area, only to be let free on the puerile argument that the killer bullet could have been fired by someone else. Damn!

Baby Pendo murder

Like in 2007, I was ashamed to be a Kenyan. Bereft of any confidence, Boinnet stammered his way through the interview around a plethora of questions touching on the many deaths from police bullets, the myriad cases of rape after house break-ins by his rogue force drawn from communities hostile to their victims. Some were said to be Mungiki elements in uniform. Apart from deaths, their brutality left many badly injured.  

Baby Pendo succumbed to injuries incurred from a senseless beating. When an uneasy calm returned, some of the dead had been secretly hurled into Lake Victoria, their bodies wrapped in body bags (some bodies were retrieved by fisher folk) and others were said to have been buried in mass graves at Kisumu’s Mamboleo cemetery.

I was befuddled when President Uhuru Kenyatta, without any compunction whatsoever, publicly praised Boinnet’s men for what he said was a job well done.

Fast forward to February 28, 2018 and the trigger-happy gendarmes were at it again, this time round cutting down a promising future leader at the behest of power-soaked Meru University officials in a manner most foul.

Evans Njoroge death

The shooting of 23-year-old Evans Njoroge alias Kidero at point-blank range was cold, primitive, idiotic, and callous in the extreme. Thus the life of one in whom parents and society had invested so much was cut down. Even animals in the wild are not so heartless.

While the vice chancellor whose administrative shortcomings were the cause of the riots used as a smokescreen for the seemingly targeted killing has been sent to cool his heels pending retirement to allow investigations, the uniformed man who pulled the trigger and his immediate commanders in Chuka are roaming free as Boinnet remains as cool as water in a pot. One wonders if the top cop possesses any parental feelings.

In our tribally balkanised country where communities are benumbed to the pain of others just because they are ethnically different, Njoroge’s death shook Mount Kenya region into condemning the dastardly act.

It woke the region to the fact that the death or persecution of Kenyans by a rogue police force is capable of spilling to all and must be unreservedly condemned, ethnicity or political affiliation notwithstanding.

Now that Kenya has entered a new political era with the warming of relations between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, it is time Boinnet was made to isolate his bloodthirsty hounds to face justice for the sake of the mourning families. He should be made to appreciate that there are no lesser Kenyans who can be pulverised at the slightest excuse.

Let me illustrate my sentiments with a practical example. When Kenyans in Nyando, where Miguna Miguna was born, blocked the Kericho/Kisumu highway to express their anger against his illegal deportation to Canada, five of them were ruthlessly mowed down by police using live bullets and scores were left nursing horrific wounds, yet no similar action was taken when rowdy youths early this month impudently punctured vehicle tyres and blocked the busy Nairobi/Nakuru highway in Limuru area to protest at the burning of a locally owned truck that was caught transporting charcoal in faraway Kitui County in disregard of a ban.

We can only hope that the law will be applied equitably with the advent of the newfound unity.

It is an era where the likes of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, who spew tribal hate with reckless abandon, should be nabbed and locked up as a lesson to others. Kenyans cannot be outsiders within the borders of their own country just because they speak a different language from the so-called majority. Utterances such as ‘outsiders must leave Kiambu’ or that they should not be considered for employment in institutions based there are the height of irresponsibility, something the new order must not permit.

Mr Ombuor is a senior writer with The Standard.

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