Mothers of police brutality victims led hundreds of Kenyans in a huge protest at Mathare Constituency on Monday June 8, demanding justice for victims of killings by police as well as police brutality in the constituency.
The mothers led the protests carrying placards that displayed names of their children as they blasted the police for the upsurge of their brutality and killing excesses.
Many of the protesters were residents of Mathare who also demanded justice for Vaite, a homeless man who on the night of Monday June 1 was gunned down by police officers during curfew hours.
Some of those who addressed protesters during the demonstration urged relevant authorities to enact swift punishment on officers responsible for various incidents.
They quizzed why Mathare was regarded as one of the hot-spots for extra-judicial killings and police brutality, calling for an end to police violence.
They further called for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the police service, particularly, officers serving the area whom they accused of undertaking the killings.
Residents accused officers of shooting Vaite in Bondeni area but Police Spokesperson Charles Owino came out to defend the actions of his employees.
In an interview with NTV’s Ken Mijungu, he reiterated that the police were fully convinced Vaite was gunned down by a five-man criminal gang.
“The case of Vaite, the one which people are shouting in Mathare. We have very clear witnesses who told us that this guy was followed by about 5 persons on motorbikes.
“You know, whether you are homeless or you have a home, a criminal who meets you does not know. Remember this is Dandora Bridge, you can follow up to find out how many lives we have lost at Dandora Bridge,” he stated on Tuesday, June 2.
He also defended the actions of other police officers accused of brutalising and killing innocent people more so during the curfew period implemented by President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 27.
“Some of these police officers are very young, they can easily get drunk with the little power they have and do very wrong things”. he stated
“The President is the President for everyone, including the police. He understood what happened and knew the police made a mistake. But he also knew what his voters did to the police. They destroyed people’s cars and provoked the police.”
His comments did not sit well with social media users who immediately expressed their outrage at Charles Owino, more so lambasting him for not keeping track of his employees.
Some of the placards seen in Mathare carried messages including ‘Justice for Vaite’, ‘Stop Killing Our Children’ and ‘Youth Lives Matter’, mirroring the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and protests in the United States over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, at the hands of police officers.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who suffocated Floyd to death with his knee has since been charged with second degree murder.
The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) had confirmed the dire situation when they revealed statistics on complaints about the police since enforcement of the dusk to dawn curfew.
In a statement on Wednesday, June 3, IPOA revealed that they were investigating 15 deaths linked to police during the curfew, the highest in the world as documented by VICE News.
They further disclosed that 87 complaints of police violence had been lodged in the same period, among them allegations of robbery, shootings and sexual assault.
As a result, they ordered for six police officers to face charges of either murder, shooting and assault to various civilians.
“Following investigations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and upon independent review of the case files by the Director of Public Prosecutions, six officers will be arrested and arraigned for various serious offences,” began IPOA in their statement on June 4.