News / Africa

Kenyan Women’s Groups Call for End to Police Executions

A relative of a victim of extrajudicial killings recounts her experience at a rally in Nairobi, March 8, 2011
A relative of a victim of extrajudicial killings recounts her experience at a rally in Nairobi, March 8, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

As International Women's Day is observed worldwide, Kenyan women gathered in Nairobi Tuesday to speak out against the police killings of their loved ones.

For women around the world, the March 8 is a day to celebrate and advance the progress of gender equality globally.  But in Nairobi, March 8 was a day for mothers, daughters, sisters and wives to demand justice for family members killed by Kenya’s police.

Police executions have been a notorious problem for Kenya’s judicial system and government officials over the past decade, prompting international calls for an end to the killings.

The Kenyan government has promised to address the issue, establishing commissions to enact reforms within Kenya’s police force, which Transparency International ranked as the third most corrupt institution in East Africa in 2010.

Just weeks ago, Kenyan MP Martha Karua alleged that police executions have risen during the tenure of President Mwai Kibaki. Karua pointed to a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights which reported nearly 500 cases of extrajudicial killings.

The chairperson of the Social Reform Center, Alice Wahome, told attendees at the rally that the killings have continued.  Wahome, who also serves as the deputy secretary general of Karua’s NARC Kenya party, urged the attendees to unite and demand the rights given to Kenyans under the country’s new constitution.  

On January 20, the issue of police executions burst back into the public eye, when the Daily Nation newspaper published photographs of police officers shooting suspects in the middle of a busy highway in broad daylight.  Local and international observers swiftly condemned the killings and Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti immediately promised a full and thorough investigation.

“Such acts are totally unacceptable, and more so coming at a time when the government is implementing a new constitution that highly upholds the fundamental rights of all citizens,” said Saitoti.

In 2009, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Philip Alston conducted a fact-finding mission on police executions in Kenya, finding them to be "a systematic, widespread and clearly planned strategy to execute individuals, carried out on a regular basis by the Kenya police."

The report was highly controversial and criticized by many of Kenya’s politicians, who challenged Alston’s findings as ill-informed.

But for the women - and men - gathered in Nairobi, the report became a rallying cry for justice as victim’s families recounted their own experiences.

Ruth Neema told the audience she has never received an explanation for her brother’s death at the hands of Kenyan police. Neema found out on Valentine’s Day when she found her mother and sister crying at home. When the women travelled to the local police station to find the body, officials could not find any record of the incident.

And though the Tuesday event in Nairobi was organized by women’s groups, many men were in attendance to demand answers from the police. Daniel Njoroge told VOA he wanted answers for his brother Joseph Wanyoike, who died just one week ago.  According to Njoroge, Joseph was shot in the arm and leg by police in Nairobi, then loaded into a vehicle, where he told bystanders that the police would kill him.  Njoroge later found Joseph in the city mortuary, dead from a gunshot to the head.

“We need justice from the police and also those who did that to be arrested, because they are police officers who are known to me. I know them. That is what we want,” said Njoroge.

Security Minister Saitoti and police spokesperson Eric Kiraithe have stressed in recent months that the incidents of extrajudicial killings are not representative of the force as a whole and promised serious reform. But for those gathered on Tuesday, promises of reform were not as important as the truth and justice for the loved ones lost in the violence.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid