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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs