Even as the police enforce the curfew restrictions the government imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, officers must respect the human rights and dignity of Kenyans.
Cases of police meting out excessive abuses against the public, including fatal shootings, fly in the face of the broader objectives, which the government is seeking to achieve, which is to keep all Kenyans safe.
It is reprehensible for the police to treat citizens as delinquents or criminals to be subdued by the use of excessive force. As the court has rightly observed in compelling the police to publish the curfew guidelines of its officers, the police must of necessity act within the law. The whole point of the curfew is to manage the movement of people, not to criminalise movement.
Police have been blamed for the deaths of at least two people, a boda boda rider in Mombasa and a 13-year-old boy in Nairobi who was shot while on the balcony of his family’s home. These cases are a blot on the record of the police service and wipe out the good work that other officers are doing.
Extra-judicial killings remain criminal. The officers responsible must be arrested and prosecuted. The police must be humane when enforcing the curfew.
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