ACCOUNTABILITY

Mudavadi to state: Admit failure and apologise over curfew mess

Says cannot be business as usual, government must be reminded it is not at war with its citizens.

In Summary

• In Mombasa, photos were seen of residents lying on the floor as others were beaten. Residents were rushing to go on to the ferry before 6 pm.

• Mudavadi said while other countries have put mechanisms in place to take care of the welfare of their citizens, it is regrettable that in Kenya security agents have thrown a huge blind blanket over everyone that they find outside.

Residents of Mombasa when they were roughed up and beaten by police
Residents of Mombasa when they were roughed up and beaten by police
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula on Saturday chided the police over the excessive forced used during enforcement of the countrywide curfew.

The two, in separate statements, said following Friday's incidents where Kenyans were beaten by police and ordered to lie down, it was clear there is a gap between policy formulation and implementation.

"The brutality that we have seen especially in Likoni is a reflection of failure to plan for the curfew. Curfews are not just imposed and implemented, unless you are dealing with a hostile population in a sudden and violently disruptive situation," Mudavadi said.

There was mayhem on Friday as police used excessive force to disperse residents as the curfew came into effect.

In Mombasa, photos were seen of residents lying on the floor as others were beaten. Residents were rushing to go on to the ferry before 6pm.

The actions have been termed as an aggravated assault to members of the public.

Mudavadi said curfews must be methodically planned and all contingent considerations thought through and mitigated.

Mudavadi said while some services have been classified as essential, it is embarrassing that those who provide the same services were not spared by the police.

He said the Likoni incident neither showed mechanisms to identify health workers reporting to duty, nor did it identify journalists.

"Everything not withstanding, the government must admit failure in this regard and apologise to Kenyans,' Mudavadi said.

 

He said the government must recognise that its citizens need basics.

He said while other countries have put mechanisms in place to take care of the welfare of their citizens, it is regrettable that in Kenya security agents have thrown a huge blind blanket over everyone that they find outside.

"This is wrong," he said.

Going forward, Mudavadi said the government must seek to win over Kenyans in the effort to contain COVID-19.

"It bears repeating that the country is not at war with another country or with rebels from within. We are fighting against a deadly virus and we need each other,' he said.

He added, "People must eat and they are not going to sit in their houses and wait to starve to death because they have heard there is a virus. What is the state doing about their food crisis, the curfew has paralysed transport leaving some people waiting at bus stops, how do policemen look at the watch, see it was now 7 pm and suddenly descended on stranded commuters with brutality".

The ANC leader said the mismanagement of the curfew was a reflection of the thinking deficit in government.

"President Uhuru needs to get his team back to the drawing board and get them to come up with people-friendly interventions that will help to defeat the virus," Mudavadi said.

Mudavadi said if Uhuru does not have the right people, he must shake up his team to inject in them the sophisticated efficiency that the times we are going through demand.

"It cannot be business as usual, it is useful to remind the government that it is not at war with its citizens," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Wetang'ula who said IG Hillary Mutyambai should ensure there are no human rights abuses in the pretext of enforcing the curfew.

"Kenyans are already traumatised by the virus and need no further stress, Police should escort those caught off guard to their homes and not beat them up," Wetang'ula said.