Curfew: Pressure on IG Mutyambai Over Police Brutality

  • Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai during a passing out parade for 1,224 officers in December 2019
    Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai during a passing out parade for 1,224 officers in December 2019
    File
  • Pressure is piling on the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to take concrete action after incidences of police brutality were recorded on the night of Friday, March 27, following a government curfew directive.

    Sentiments are beginning to be aired asking Mutyambai to take responsibility and chart a clear way forward to ensure that such incidences are not recorded in the future.

    Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula was particularly vocal. He informed Mutyambai that Kenyans were already grappling with the effects of the virus and did not need further pressure from the police force.

    "IG Mutyambai, ensure that there are no human rights abuses in the pretext of enforcing the curfew. Kenyans are already traumatized by Coronavirus and need no further stress. Police should escort those caught off guard to their homes and not beat them up!"

    Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula addresses a gathering in Busia in 2018
    Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula addresses a gathering in Busia in 2018
    Daily Nation

    "When the President declared a 7.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. curfew it was meant to enhance efforts to check Covid-19. The police who are using this as an excuse to brutalize people are criminally culpable. Utumishi kwa wote and not Fujo/rungu kwa wengine. (Service to all and not blows to a few)," Wetangula shared on his social media platforms.

    The Kenya National Council for Human Rights (KNHCR) also demanded that Mutyambai come forward and issue directives to be followed by all police officers while effecting curfew guidelines.

    "KNCHR calls upon the Inspector General of Police to issue an immediate directive on zero tolerance to human rights violations by all law enforcement officers to avert further deterioration and perpetuation of human rights abuses.

    "The gusto, attitude and zeal in which the law enforcement officers were seen harassing and beating innocent members of the public; that included vulnerable persons like women, defeated the solemnity in which they need to handle the mitigating measures of spreading COVID 19.

    "The law enforcement officers are seen isolating innocent members of the public solely for purposes of inflicting bodily harm to them. This is a total abuse of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in our constitution," KNCHR wrote.

    The KNCHR further informed that it would be monitoring the enforcement of the curfew to ensure compliance with human rights principles and standards, and appealed to other players, including the media to do the same.

    "The Commission further reiterates that any human rights violations or abuses in the context of enforcing the curfew by the law enforcement officers must be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially.

    "Victims should be provided with access to remedy and redress for such violations and abuses through judicial, oversight body or other national mechanisms, based on law and in conformity with human rights obligations and commitments," it stated.

    A statement from the KNCHR released on March 28, 2020, providing a hotline for people to contact in case they encounter cases of police brutality.
    A statement from the KNCHR released on March 28, 2020, providing a hotline for people to contact in case they encounter cases of police brutality.
    Twitter

    The same sentiments were echoed by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, who reacted with shock when he saw the video of police officer harassing Mombasa residents way before the curfew hours were due.

    "IG Mutyambai, this is exactly how the Coronavirus will or has spread! A stampede would have easily ensued. Social distance applies to your officers and their guns," he stated.

    An international journalist with the Economist and the Telegraph also urged Kenyans to take action and put Matiang'i and Mutyambai to task over the happenings of Friday, March 27.

    "Accountability for what happened last night must come first from Mutyambai and Matiangi. I presume journalists for Kenyan publications will be asking them why they believe they still deserve their jobs," he wrote.