Boinett denies police used excessive force on varsity students
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett has denied claims that the police used excessive force on University of Nairobi (UON) students, saying that Kenyans should not judge police based on the clips doing rounds on social media.
This comes after videos showing police officers clobbering students went viral. The students were demanding the release of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, a former student and Chairman of the institution’s student body who was arrested for allegedly insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking during an interview with NTV on Sunday, October 1, IG Boinnet was categorical that the police were called by the institution’s administration after thugs who committed crimes along State House road went into the school’s hostels and masqueraded as students.
“First of all we must understand how the police got to the hostels. On that day roads were blocked and motorists were being stoned and we got information that there were criminals masquerading as students. We got there upon the invitation of the school’s administration who told us they had a situation in one part of the campus which needed to be sorted out,” the IG said.
Boinett said although Kenyans have a right to demonstrate and picket, the right comes with responsibility to protest peacefully.
“The Constitution guarantees Kenyans the right to demonstrate and picket but this right comes with responsibility. You cannot enjoy this freedom to protest by throwing stones,” IG Boinett said.
He, however, said that the relevant institutions are investigating the matter including the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the National Police Internal Affairs Unit and any police officer found culpable of breaking the law will be punished.
“I have said that following investigations by our Internal Affairs Unit, the Independent Police Oversight Authority and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, if it turns out that any of our officers overstepped their mandate we will certainly take action,” Boinett said.
The brutality of the police has attracted condemnation from different quarters with the Law Society of Kenya Chairperson, Isaac Okero, saying that the police were in violation of the Constitution by failing to comply with human right standards while discharging their duties.
Similarly, trade unionist Francis Atwoli called on President Kenyatta to ensure police officers who breached the law are punished.
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