Police Should Beat Kenyans Into Their Homes - Herman Manyora

  • Police assault a Kenyans on March 27, 2020, as the nationwide curfew commenced
    Police assault a Kenyan on March 27, 2020, as the nationwide curfew commenced
  • As the debate on police brutality continues, with some lauding the police for enforcing the law, and others condemning the use of excessive force, analyst Herman Manyora weighed in on the debate, spoke out against the acts but argued that Kenyans should be beaten into their homes.

    On Saturday, March 27, while speaking with Kenyans.co.ke, the University of Nairobi don explained that at this juncture when Kenya is fighting the outbreak of Covid-19, what mattered was the lives of all Kenyans and not who was who in the society.

    The political analyst did not shy away from heaping blame on Kenyans themselves, rather than the police force, adding that the officers were put in a compromising situation by the citizens.

    "We are not in an ideal situation. Every one of us should be fighting Coronavirus in our own way while observing government-stipulated measures form the Health Ministry. President Kenyatta urged us to stay at home and obey the curfew. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the gravity of the situation Kenyans are indisciplined. 

    "From the day the curfew was announced to its implementation, employers and employees were given enough time to re-organise. How can you leave work at 5 p.m. and expect to be home by 7 p.m. Employers should have let their staff head home by 2 p.m. Let the police beat them up so that we avoid mass deaths as witnessed in Italy, Spain and the US," Manyora opined.

    The TV panellist further argued that the police were put in a compromising situation due to negligence by Kenyans.

    "If you and I would have been in the same position, we would have reacted the same way. Abnormal times require abnormal measures. It's not about who you are but about enforcing discipline," he stated.

    According to him, the solution to such an impasse would be found once Kenyans are inside their homes. He argued that, at that point, the government would then be pressured to provide basic needs to each and every family.

    "After that, we can address the issue of police using excessive force, and ask the government to feed the nation. All necessary measures should be undertaken and should be respected," Manyora opined.

    However, analyst Patrick Gathara, in his opinion article for the Washington Post on Wednesday, March 25, differed with Manyora's sentiments, arguing that Kenya was pulling its card from a colonial handbook.

    "From colonial times, the state has valued obedience over consent, preferring to issue orders rather than explain its decisions to the people. When tackling outbreaks of the bubonic plague early in the last century, the colonial administration resorted to harsh measures. such as hut burnings, forced vaccinations and quarantines, which, not surprisingly, were resisted by much of the African population.

    Today, the scenario is remarkably similar. Over the past week, the Kenyan government has used its daily briefings to announce increasingly stringent “directives,” bemoan a lack of cooperation and threaten dire punishments. Like its colonial predecessor, the government has offered little in the way of articulating its plans and thinking," Gathara wrote.

    He also added that the government was out to control the narrative rather than keep the public well-informed. 

    "In Kenya, the government’s poor communication may be having a similar effect, as shown by its constant complaint about Kenyans not obeying its dictates. Indeed, many Kenyans are openly flouting the government’s directives, often citing their impracticality. It needs to learn to talk to the public and not just order people around," Gathara added urging the media to challenge the government as the latter starts treating its citizens as partners rather than problems.