KNHCR condemns use of force by police during anti-IEBC protests
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) has condemned the use of force by police to disperse protesters during the anti- IEBC demonstrations led by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).
Commission Chair Kagwiria Mbogori said her team has met with Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to raise their complaints on police brutality witnessed during the anti -IEBC demos.
Speaking after meeting with CORD leaders led by Raila Odinga at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi, Mbogori called on police to respect the people’s right to demonstrate peacefully and picket.
The meeting took place at the request of the Commission. KNCHR officials, led by Mbogori and Chief Executive Patricia Nyaundi said it was part of their mission to encourage consolations and spirit of positive engagement among key leaders on critical national issues.
The meeting came against the background of a statement issued by the Commission on 30th May 2016 on the Right of Assembly in the context of CORD protests.
Odinga said that CORD took to the streets because Jubilee had closed all other avenues. He reminded the KNHCR commissioners that CORD started by asking for dialogue way back in 2016, which Jubilee rejected. CORD then took a petition to the National Assembly, which was also defeated, which led CORD to go the way of referendum which also failed.
“In light of these developments, we were left with no option but to have the people exercise sovereignty directly. That is how we came to protests,” said Raila.
“I urge the Commission to study very carefully the words of Nelson Mandela at his trial regarding how ANC ended up embracing the campaign of defiance and disobedience. When the State closes all avenues for citizens, the alternative is street protests,” he added.
The Cord leader called on human rights organisations to speak out for those whose rights were being abused during lawful protests.
Raila reiterated his readiness to engage with the State on critical national issues.
He was accompanied by Kisumu Senator Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o and ODM Executive Director Oduor Ongwen, among others.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Nyong’o called for compensation of the protesters who were killed during the anti-IEBC demos in Siaya and Kisumu counties.
Police have been on the spot over brutality and use of excessive force during Cord’s anti-IEBC protests last Monday.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) warned police officers against breaking the law in their quest to maintain law and order as any officer found culpable will face the consequences individually.
The protests in Kisumu and Siaya turned chaotic after police lobbed teargas to disperse the protesters.
The killing of the three protesters and injuring of many others has sparked criticism across board with members of the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and human rights groups calling for action against the officers involved.
12 Heads of Mission to Kenya last week released a statement to the media expressing concern over the ‘escalation of violence during the demonstrations in Kenyan cities on May 23rd around the future of the IEBC.’
“The deaths and injuries of Kenyan citizens were tragic and unnecessary. We urge the Government of Kenya to investigate the actions of the security services and to hold accountable anyone responsible for the use of excessive force. We call on all demonstrators to act peacefully,” read the statement in part.
According to the envoys, violence will not resolve the issues regarding the future of the IEBC or ensure the 2017 elections are free and credible.
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