POLICE BRUTALITY, THE UN-ENDING PAIN

A George Floyd mural in Nairobi, Kenya. One of many around the world. Shows police brutality resonates globally

With the daylight murder of George Floyd on the 26th of May 28, 2020, by the police, in the USA, the world was forced through an all familiar face of police brutality. Cases of such brutality have risen over the years begging the question “will this ever end?” Across the pond in Africa, such cases are a familiar sighting with people living in fear of the police where more and more people keep dying at the hands of police. Their inhumane actions are carried out through; assault, forced arrest, rape, looting, torture and killing of the people they swore to serve and protect.

In Kenya, police brutality is a song sung almost every day where nothing is done and all cries fall on deaf ears. Since the start of the corona virus pandemic, the number of police brutality cases in the country have risen by a large percentage. The president has warned that any officer found to be committing such atrocities would be dealt with but Kenyans have little to no hope of this promise ever coming in to effect. Citizens are beaten like animals while the same police loot their shops during the government imposed curfew.

Kenyan Police “Enforcing the law”

On the night of 26th may, Samuel Maina, a resident in the capital, Nairobi, was attacked by police leaving him with a broken nasal bone while also stealing his phone and little money he had. He tried seeking help from a police station where they refused to grant any assistance. Only when his plight was aired on social media did the police agree to help him and let him record a statement. A few kilometers away in the same city at Kiamaiko, police threw a tear gas canister inside a house where a two month old baby was asleep. The father tried to get rid of it as fast as he could but the damage was already done. The baby was later hospitalized and needed assistance breathing due to the tear gas. Efforts by the parents to report the case were derailed by police officers who refused to hear them out and wouldn’t let them record a statement until again, citizens intervened through social media.

When journalists try to reach out to the police in charge, they decline to pick their calls or lie through their teeth and say that people are lying to sully their reputation. The denial of such cruel acts by police bosses continuously inflates the power and ego of the men and women in uniform to the point where they feel themselves untouchable by the laws they are supposed to be enforcing. The government on the other hand does little to help ease the situation and continues to sit on the sidelines while these barbaric acts of violence are committed against its citizens.

Across the border to our neighbors in Uganda, the song is the same. Police officers who fancy themselves brave enough to even attack journalists without a care for consequences. The Guardian aired the plight of a Ugandan woman Alanyo Joyce who suffered and is still suffering due to police brutality. On Wednesday the 8th of April this year, a police officer kicked a saucepan with boiling oil in her direction leaving her with burns on her face, arms, legs and chest. Her attacker was arrested but later released on cash bail. Many more cases of such animosity are spread out across Uganda fitting a pattern of police brutality in Africa.

An index conducted by the World Internal Security and Police Index in 2019 revealed that Nigeria has the worst police force in Africa followed by DRC Congo while Kenya and Uganda round up the top 4. At the height of political tensions in 2016, Kenyan police faced allegations of carrying out more extra judicial killings than anywhere else in Africa. A scary statistic which was condemned by human rights activists and groups in the country.

Police brutality protests in Kenya

Similar stories of brutality can be told from different parts of the continent, a pattern that seems nowhere near its end. The message is the same from protests all over. America to Europe to Africa. “Stop killing us!!” This all begs the question. For how long will people continue to be brutalized under those who took an oath to serve and protect them?

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Moses Ngugi

Moses Ngugi

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Writer on matters that affect us on a daily basis. I offer my thoughts and open to further discussion on topics posted.