On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, two policemen walked towards M-Club and Bar in Nairobi’s Dagoretti.
Constables Benjamin Kahindi Changawa and Stanley Okoti headed straight to an Mpesa shop. Their focus- three men who had just bought scratch cards from the shop.
A group of people milled around the shop oblivious of what was about to happen. And as everyone went about their business, constables Kahindi and Okoti ordered everyone to raise their hands.
Everyone including the three men who were at the shop obeyed the order. But that was not good enough.
According to eyewitnesses, one of the three men identified himself as a police officer.
He told the two policemen that his name was Constable Joseph Obongo.
He had his hands raised up when he told Kahindi and Okoti that he was from the airport after escorting his boss-Bomachoge MP Joel Onyancha.
Onyancha was then travelling to The Hague.
The officers searched Obongo – they found his Ceska pistol, one of them took it and shot him in the head with it.
The other policeman used his own gun and shot Obongo’s two cousin – Geoffrey Mogoi and Amos Okenye. In a span of seconds, the three lay dead in a pool of blood.
In a statement to the media soon after the killings, Police claimed the three were gangsters and were shot trying to rob a bar patron. It’s after further probe that the truth came out.
Following the incident, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) launched investigations into the killings.
IPOA concluded investigations and recommended to the Director of Public Prosecution to charge the two officers with the murder of the three men.
In a judgment on Thursday, November 1, High court judge Stella Mutuku agreed with the prosecution that constable Kahindi and Okoti used excessive force.
The judge found the two to guilty and sentenced them to death.
“Save for the malice aforethought, the evidence in respect of how the deceased met their death is not disputed by the defence,” the judge said.
“The milestone decision reiterates the independence and commitment of IPOA in safeguarding the rights of victims of police killings including serving officers,” IPOA’s head of Communications Dennis Oketch said in a statement following the judgment.
He said IPOA had ascertained that the officers misused their firearms, leading to the death of Makori and his two relatives.
“The judgment aims to give life Article 244 of the constitution,” said Oketch.
Article 244 spells objectives and functions of the National Police Service.
Under the Article, NPS is expected to strive for the highest standards of professionalism and discipline among its members; prevent corruption and promote and practice transparency and accountability; comply with constitutional standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
NPS is also expected to train staff to the highest possible standards of competence and integrity and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and dignity, and as well as foster and promote relationships with the broader society.
The trial of two police officers had hit a snag in 2016 after witnesses failed to appear in court. Before that, the officers had attempted to evade summons after they learnt of the decision by IPOA recommending their trial.