The recent killing of Pakistani Arshad Sharif has reignited the conversation on extrajudicial killings in Kenya. The official police report records that the Pakistani journalist had apparently gone past a road block without stopping. The police alluded that it was a case of mistaken identity and stated that they were apparently on the lookout for a criminal on a child abduction scheme. There are however some unturned pages in this circus. First of all what prompted the police to shoot at the person in the car and not the tires to stop the moving vehicle?. The journalist was accompanied by his brother who was not killed in the experience. That can only mean that Arshad was targeted . The attack was preplanned as the bullets were fired in expertly fashion.
The journalist’s life on the run are just coming in the open now. He had run away from his home country fearing for his life. He was a harsh critic of the government of Pakistan. The opposition of his country have blamed their government of the killing. Can it be that the Pakistani government colluded with the Kenyan Police to eliminate one of their own?
A history of extrajudicial killings.
The history of Kenya suggests that the country is no stranger to extrajudicial killings. The casualties of extrajudicial killings deserve a mention when we celebrate our heroes. Only the independence heroes who fought in the forest and the second liberation heroes deserve more credit. The case of firebrand businessman Jacob Juma is an excellent example.
Jacob Juma’s body was found abandoned somewhere along Ngong’ Road in May 2016. The businessman was a harsh critic of the government insiders and was seen as a threat to the establishment. The fact that Juma had gone to court to sue a man he accused of wanting to kill him is terrifying . He one even took to his Twitter account to name those who were threatening his life.
The named people were (and still are) the big boys in the government. But his fate was already written. He was shot on the chest multiple times with the pathologists terming the wounds as clean strikes. The police were somehow involved in the planning and execution of the businessman. His case has a strand of political assassinations which is a topic which we can go on for a long time (To Mboya whose elegance necessitated his killing, To Robert whose stirs abroad rumbled stomachs internally and the rest).
How the police get involved in extrajudicial killings.
In the two cases we can only come to one conclusion. The police are at the center of most extrajudicial killings in Kenya. The force that is meant to protect the common man has turned rogue and is killing for a price. The police have turned their guns out for hire. The recent cases of dumping in River Yala has been traced to some police officers eliminating witnesses.
Nobody is spared…
The police killing young men in slums and informal settlements is not even talked about much. Pangani Police Station is reported to be responsible for an extraordinarily high number of men within the Mathare slums .Within Kibera slums the actions of police has gone unnoticed for long. It is assumed they were responsible for the death of a student named Charlton Maina. But despite all the evidence put forward nobody is trying to even uncover the mess in the police force. Men between ages 18 and 24 are stereotyped as criminals are eliminated from the face of the earth without remorse.
There may be hope at the end of the tunnel though. Recently President William Ruto disbanded The Special Service Unit claiming they are responsible for most extrajudicial killings in Kenya. Whether that is a political strategy is left to be seen. This is an issue that must be addressed or else we will fall back on our quest for a good nation.