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Civil Rights Activism Can Transform Kenya’s Police Service

Opinion

By Abednego Mwikya

Kenyans were earlier this week taken aback by media reports that a young Kenyan man was behind the massive protests that rocked several states in the federation of the United States. The protests erupted following the alleged strangulation to death of African American, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police.

The Kenyan, named Alex Ndiritu according to news media, jogged the Federal Investigations Bureau (FBI) into action after he told Americans to set the White House, the seat of the US throne, on fire in an expression of disgust at the death of Floyd.

The US protests also prompted Americans in various parts of the world to rise up in solidarity and demand justice for the victim of blatant racism. Remarkably, Kenyans joined Americans living in Kenya in a mega protest staged outside the American Embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi.

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As if this isn’t enough, on Wednesday evening, BBC journalist Larry Madowo, posted a video of an African American woman, who was adorned in a Kenyan bracelet, addressing American protesters in an undisclosed location in the US. Netizens were immediately convinced that the woman had Kenyan roots.

The effect of these protests was monumental. Not only were the police officers suspected of involvement in the murder of Floyd sacked, but they were also charged with murder. The world is following these cases with a keen eye to ensure justice is discharged.

Apparently, the two incidences of the involvement of Kenyans in the organization of protests on the American soil paint Kenyans as a people whose level of civil rights consciousness is way above that of many nations. It is an encouraging phenomenon because activism is one of the most powerful engines for driving change in practically every dimension of society.

Coincidentally, and ironically too, the involvement of Kenyans in global protests is being witnessed when the situation in our own country is increasingly being punctuated by an upsurge of extra-judicial killings by state security apparatus, especially in the wake of Covid-19 invasion.

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According to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), members of the Kenya police service have killed 15 people in less than three months, while enforcing curfew rules. 31 others have been left nursing critical injuries.

Police have also left the same legacy in the border of Narok and Baringo counties, where they are involved in the pacification of a violent border dispute between two communities in the area.

The same ‘police service’ is alleged to have executed a man suspected to be involved in Al Shabaab activities in Kenya’s coastal strip, together with his two children. How brutal can those charged with the duty of protecting the lives and property of Kenyans, turn out to be!

Don’t you think the awareness and spirit of our civil rights of activism can reverse the trend? If only a few Kenyans are brewing monumental public agitations around the globe, there is no doubt that we are able to participate significantly in the transformation of our police officers into a true service.

It is time we rose up to protest the atrocities of misguided police officers even as we support those who are living to the expectations of their calling. Silence is a betrayal to ourselves.

About Edwin Ochieng

Edwin Ochieng is living true to the calling of Journalism, He is passionate about issues of Business and Politics. Edwin Ochieng is a graduate from St Paul University and East African School of Media Studies (EASMS).

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