Last year, police killed 107 Kenyans according to Missing Voices verified data, most of those killed were young men mostly in informal settlements.
The numbers show that 69 per cent of those killed were mostly youth of between 18 to 35 years, followed by 20 per cent of those below 18 years. With about 80 per cent of those killed in 2019 being below the age of 35, Kenya is heading on a slippery slope where we seem to criminalise youth.
Most of those killed were from lower income areas where it seems the law does not apply to them. From our verified cases we see that most of the victims were killed in what police call anti-crime operations. The most affected month was March where 23 young men were killed, most of them in groups of seven and five.
Despite positive efforts to reform the police with latest efforts by the Inspector General commanding that all officers should wear uniforms while on duty, disbanding of Spiv and Flying Squad that have in the past been accused of killings, we saw a spike in police killings in January this year with about 14 Kenyans being killed.
In January, we witnessed the killing of innocent young men like 17-year-old Stephen Machurusi in Mwiki during a protest and 19-year-old Hemedi Majini in Majengo by police officers. Three people were killed after the burial of Hemedi with a child who was playing losing his sight after being shot at by a stray bullet. These young men posed no threats to the officers and were unarmed.
Last year our hearts were broken by the killing of baby Dan Githinji during a raid by police officers in a chang’aa den. We also witnessed the killing of other innocent young men like Carilton Maina in December of 2018, to date the officers who killed Carlton are still walking free. The case of Meru University student leader Evans Njoroge is still dragging in court two years since the student was killed on February 27, 2018.
This report captures many stories of survivors of police killings who are still crying for justice many years after their loved ones were killed by police officers. As the world celebrates Valentine’s Day, Missing Voices is Spreading Roses not bullets in remembrance of victims of police killings and enforced disappearances and urging Kenyans to Speak Up because their Silence Kills.
• The implementation of the National Coroner’s Act and the Prevention of Torture Act
• Establishment of a National Commission of inquiry into violations by security agents
•Reparations of victims and families of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances
• A public pronouncement by Inspector General of Police and Interior CS condemning police excesses.