Friday, March 06, 2009

Kenyan police and impunity.....

I wonder what will happen now that the founder of Oscar Foundation is dead. Just hours after the government spokesman said that the Oscar foundation was a front for the proscribed Mungiki thugs and their sympathizers.

Being a legal foundation- giving free legal aid to suspects- the foundation was likely to attract all manner and sorts of characters including Mungiki thugs and other goons.

Is it a crime to give legal aid to Mungiki suspects? I am not defending the members because they have raped and killed many in my village neighborhood but I also know two young men who have been shot dead and their only crime is peer influence and moving at night. When you are labeled as Mungiki, no one sympathizes.

Mungiki is a Gikuyu word meaning the crowd though there is no proper direct translation. Its use imbues a sense of community and support for each other. It used to be a sect, recruiting mainly men, pretending to practice traditional Gikuyu traditions while in fact it was a gang for hire, thriving on intimidating people by killing those who refuse to join the sect.

It is almost predictable that when the police announce or publish the names of "wanted" criminals, they are only looking for a license to kill, with no questions asked.

Sample this; the police publish the photo of a wanted criminal, that week he/she is gunned down.
It has happened consistently at least since the mid '90s when they published the photos of three notorious gangsters; Wanugu, Wacucu and Rasta. They were later caught and shot dead.

There is no doubt that the criminals deserve to be arrested or maybe die like the many they are alleged to have killed, but is it by coincidence that the criminals are caught and killed immediately the photos are published?

Is it that police tips do not work and the public tips work better, or is it just a case of seeking license to kill?

Now the blame will start shifting over who actually killed the foundation head. I will not be surprised if the government spokesman comes up with a theory that he was killed by a rival Mungiki gang.

And we talk of impunity!