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Kenya opposition threatens to remove police chief over impunity

Opposition coalition in Kenya has threatened to remove the Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome, over allegations of impunity.

The threat comes as a response to the killings of demonstrators by police officers, which has ignited anger and raised concerns about human rights abuses in the country.

Taking a strong stance against the actions of the police force, leaders of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party have vowed to table a censure motion against Japhet Koome. During a requiem mass for the 12 victims of the police killings, the opposition leaders accused the police chief of being insensitive and going rogue. There were also claims that the police boss had made derogatory remarks by alleging that Azimio had hired bodies from morgues.

Kenyan opposition threatens to remove police chief over impunity
Riot police officers fire tear gas to disperse supporters in Nairobi, Kenya [John Muchucha/Reuters]
The opposition, which has been very critical of the government’s activities, has also called on the International Criminal Court to intervene and investigate the human rights abuses taking place in the country. The leaders argue that the government is engaged in activities that undermine the constitution and disregard the rights of its citizens.

Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio coalition, took the forefront in condemning the government’s actions. During the requiem mass, he expressed his disappointment in the lack of respect for the constitution by those in power. Odinga emphasised that the constitution was put in place to protect the rights of citizens, but it seems that those in power are not abiding by it.

Another prominent opposition leader, Martha Karua of the Narc Kenya party, vowed that the killings would not go unpunished. She made it clear that the bloodshed would not be forgotten and that justice would be sought for the victims.

The threat to remove the Inspector General of Police is a strong statement from the opposition party, reflecting the level of frustration and anger among the citizens. The killings of demonstrators by police officers have raised serious concerns about the excessive use of force and disregard for human rights.

The issue of police brutality has sparked outrage and demands for justice among Kenyan leaders. The leaders have expressed their concerns about the matter and have made it clear that it will not be discussed at the dialogue table, but rather, it will be escalated to a higher level.

During a gathering at Bomas of Kenya, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka emphasised the seriousness of the issue, stating, “The matter of police brutality, we cannot have it in Bomas talks… this is a serious matter.” His strong statement highlights the level of concern among the leaders regarding this pressing issue.

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga also expressed her sentiments on the matter, underscoring the pain that their people have had to endure due to rogue police actions. She passionately stated, “Our people have borne the pain of a rogue police… our mothers have buried their sons against their will, so they must get justice.” The heartfelt words of Governor Wanga clearly reflect the determination of the leaders to seek justice for the victims and their families.

Kenyan opposition threatens to remove police chief over impunity
Kenyan opposition threatens to remove police chief over impunity.

Former Defense CS Eugene Wamalwa called for immediate action, suggesting that Inspector General Koome is not fit to hold public office. Wamalwa emphasised the need for accountability and stated, “From here we are moving to have a censure motion that IG Koome is not fit to hold public office.” Such a motion would hold the IG accountable for the actions of the police force and send a strong message that police brutality will not be tolerated.

Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma echoed these sentiments, highlighting the need for leaders to take a stand against police brutality. He stated, “As leaders, we cannot cry when our people are dying, let us go and table a motion of no confidence against Koome.” This call to action demonstrates the leaders’ commitment to ensuring justice and accountability within the police force.

Siaya Governor James Orengo shared his insights from visiting police stations in Siaya County, where he found no reports of deaths from police officers. This statement raises concerns about the transparency and accuracy of the reporting system regarding police brutality cases. Governor Orengo’s comments highlight the need for proper investigation and reporting mechanisms to drive change and prevent further human rights abuses.

Raila Odinga, the former premier and leader of the Azimio la Umoja coalition, pledged to address the issue of police brutality on an international scale. He called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take note of the human rights abuses happening in Kenya, stating, “We want the ICC to take note… ICC must now see the abuse of human rights happening in our country.” Odinga’s call for international attention emphasises the gravity of the situation and the need for immediate action.

Furthermore, Odinga announced that the coalition would no longer call for street protests but instead ask supporters to remain indoors. He stated, “Next time we will not tell our people to come to the streets, we shall tell people to stay at home and we shall have people stopped from coming out of their homes.” This shift in strategy aims to ensure the safety of the citizens while still making their voices heard.

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