BRUTAL FORCE

Police overstepped their role in handling students’ protest

Rise in cases is a shocker deeming the anticipated decline of the vice after the establishment of Ipoa in 2011

In Summary

• JKUAT's student governing council had issued a prior notice of a peaceful demonstration to protest insecurity. 

• Students should embrace peaceful demonstrations to avoid giving the security officers a reason to mishandle them. 

JKUAT students protest against insecurity on Thika Superhighway on Monday before the university was closed indefinitely
PICKETING: JKUAT students protest against insecurity on Thika Superhighway on Monday before the university was closed indefinitely
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Police brutality has been reported many times in the country yet no convictions have been made.

The rise in cases is a shocker deeming the anticipated decline of the vice after the establishment of Ipoa in 2011, whose mandate is to provide civilian oversight of police work in the country.

Viral videos of police officers brutalising students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology have sparked a public outcry. Among the filmed videos is one showing the officers clobbering a student with one of them tromping the student’s head to the ground. This is totally barbaric.

Another assemblage of officers, in a second video, is seen forcefully breaking into the gates to an apartment occupied by students where they are reported to have lobbed teargas canisters in a bid to smoke them out. In a third video, a lone policeman is seen running outside one of the hostels while firing presumably at students ahead of him.

JKUAT’s student governing council had issued a prior notice of a peaceful demonstration to protest insecurity around the campus locale since they claim that the security honchos in the area had loosened up in their work. In recent years, similar incidences of excessive force have been documented in universities such as Moi, Maseno, Meru and Nairobi.

National Police Service, as well as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, must do their work more efficiently. They should be more visible on the ground by going out to see how police serve the public. Students should embrace peaceful demonstrations to avoid giving the security officers a reason to mishandle them.

Stern action should be taken on officers found guilty of abusing their authority against the public.

 

Mombasa