ATTACKS ON KENYANS

Deal with insecurity as a priority

Insecurity cannot be gainsaid.

In Summary

• Kenyans are dying needlessly in circumstances that do not warrant loss of life.

• Criminal gangs, police and communities, in general, are engaging in outright violation of the law and flagrant human rights abuses.

Don't make poverty a crime
Don't make poverty a crime
Image: STAR ILLUSTRATED

A suspected gang member was last week lynched in Junda area of Mombasa county.

After his burial the next day, his colleagues took to the streets in a revenge mission, slashing the public indiscriminately with pangas. No one was spared as the youth ran amok injuring all they came across. They did not steal or grab any property.

Police responded swiftly to contain the situation after being alerted of the attack. In the process of the response, two youth were shot dead and three others lynched by members of the public. From the death of one the previous day, the response by the youth, police and the community led to the death of five more and at least 10 others injured with deep cuts and wounds. This is the sad situation playing itself out in different parts of the Coast region but also Nyanza, Nairobi and Northeastern regions.

 

Insecurity continues to cause sleepless nights to many people across the country. Article 29 of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to security and this includes the right to be protected from any harm, be it from private or public sources. It means that as Kenyans, the Constitution envisages a situation where the people live in a safe environment to maximize on their potential and to freely participate in the social, economic and political development of their country.

Security is paramount and a fundamental human right. Without security, it becomes challenging to attain the enjoyment of other rights. For example, the right to education cannot be realised when children and teachers are not safe to go to school.

In the Northeastern region, teachers have abandoned their work due to insecurity. They fear for their lives due to continued targeting by terror elements. Their subsequent departure has meant the children are left with no teachers in schools thus no learning takes place.

In Kisumu, communities complain about attacks by gangs who operate in the dark of the night. They rape, assault and even kill. Police seem unable to catch up with them as many insecurity incidences remain mysteries and unresolved to date. Locals have ended up resorting to remain indoors in the night which then violates their freedom of movement as well as to engage socially and economically after dusk. Such a situation does not auger well with a city such as Kisumu which is meant to be vibrant at all times.

In Nairobi, police continue killing youth from slum areas unabated. In Mathare, Dandora, Kibera and Mukuru, reports are rife of youth losing their lives to the bullet every week. Clear evidence of the targeting is present on social media platforms and threats are made public before the killings. The targeting of youth from poor areas is disturbing and speaks to the issue of criminalisation of poverty. In Nairobi, the police have declared youth from slum areas as persona non grata who have no rights or freedoms.

When human rights activists speak to the wanting security situation, they are targeted and declared enemies of the state. In Bamba, Kilifi, HAKI Africa’s deputy executive director Salma Hemed was brutally attacked by police when she participated in a protest to call for justice when 17-year-old Margaret Shukrani died while in police custody. Margaret was six months pregnant at the time of her death and the postmortem report revealed defence/torture marks on her body.

Insecurity cannot be gainsaid. The current security situation leaves a lot to be desired. Kenyans are dying needlessly in circumstances that do not warrant loss of life. Criminal gangs, police and communities, in general, are engaging in outright violation of the law and flagrant human rights abuses.

 

It is incumbent upon the State to take measures of bringing together all stakeholders to deliberate on security and ensure adequate steps are taken to reign in on insecurity.

The right to security for all Kenyans must be prioritised.