Azimio faults church's silence on police killings

Azimio leader Raila Odinga (centre) arrives at Othoo SDA in Nyando constituency.  [Michael Mute, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition has accused the church of remaining silent in the wake of police brutality against protesters that left scores dead and others maimed.

The leaders asked the clergy to remain steadfast in fighting for ills allegedly inflicted on Kenyans by the Kenya Kwanza government.

They also accused a section of church leaders of allegedly siding with the government and turning a blind eye to the excesses of President William Ruto’s regime.

Led by Azimio leader Raila Odinga, they said the church must strive to preach and advocate for justice.

They were speaking in Othoo SDA in Nyando constituency where he lamented that the country had fallen so low into a dictatorship-era where Kenyans were being arrested and clobbered.

“The current happenings are not things we envisaged would happen after this new Constitution. We knew that these were things we buried in that old church. But it is now shocking that a whole leader would congratulate the police for the brutality,” said Raila.

He said Kenyans have been through a long struggle to improve conditions in the country and paid a heavy price to get a new Constitution.

“Our Constitution has even been said to be one of the best in the world in terms of human rights provisions,” he noted.

Raila accused President William Ruto of moving around the country, chest-thumping, and allegedly spewing propaganda about the opposition.

Minority leader of the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi said the church must remain steadfast and only be seen to be on the side of the people.

“The church cannot just talk about 35 deaths without talking about the cause of the death. This is because it is a fact that all those deaths were caused by the police and it must be said, “ said Wandayi.

He added: “We took the better part of Friday night compiling a list of all our children killed by the police since May, they are actually 72 deaths and we will publish these names as early as tomorrow.”

Wandayi said the church must call out Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome for what he termed as issuing careless statements.

Jubilee party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said the church must come out and condemn the killings of young people by the police.

“We become very worried when the church remains silent on such critical matters. The church is in bed with this regime and that is why the government can publicly be seen celebrating the police for killing innocent Kenyans,” he noted.

Kioni argued that if the church was to stand for the truth, the country would not be where it is today.

“The church should start a fact-finding mission on those innocent Kenyans brutalizes and killed by the police and speak up,” he added.

Raila was accompanied by other Azimio leaders including Eugene Wamalwa, Wycliffe Oparanya, Governor Gladys Wanga, Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and MPs Rozah Buyu, James Nyikal, Aduma Owuor, Antony Oluoch and Ongondo Were.

Raila later attended the burial of two brothers who were victims of police brutality in Vihiga.

The two, Brian Oniang’o and William Amulele are said to be victims of police brutality in Kisumu County.

Raila told the mourners that he won’t relent on his push to have the two deceased get the justice they deserve.  Other local leaders present included Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Senator Godfrey Osotsi.

Governor Ottichilo joined the family in demanding for justice for the victims, stating it was sad for a nation to lose such young souls. 

“What we want is justice for our young boy no more no less,” Ottichilo said.