The government has been accused of denying the scale of the violence that erupted soon after the announcement of the August 8 general election.
Even in instances where deaths have been documented, the government’s response was to deny or, in some instances, appeared to justify the deaths, a report by two human rights groups says.
On August 12, acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i defended the police saying there was no use of firearms and nobody was killed.
The CS said all demonstrators were looters, implying that “they were legitimate targets for shooting”.
According to Dr Matiang’i, the few people who might have been killed were criminals who were looting shops and police had only acted to thwart such criminal attempts.
“Peaceful demonstrations and picketing are protected by the Constitution and our police always act according to the law. Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, breaking into people’s businesses; those are not demonstrators, they’re criminals,” the CS said.
The report notes that in some areas of Nairobi and Kisumu after National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga stated in a press address on August 9 that there was hacking of IEBC servers and irregularities in the tallying of results.
On August 11, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner leading to demonstrations, especially in opposition strongholds and informal settlements in Nairobi, Western and Nyanza.
On the morning of August 12, police swept through neighbourhoods in 4A, areas C and T pursuing protestors.
The report says the police kicked doors open, pulled men out of their houses, and beat them with batons and gun butts. The victims said police shot at residents even where there was that their lives could have been in danger.
In areas such as alleys of the Ngomongo area of Korogocho on August 13, following the burning of the chief’s office at Waraka, GSU police went house-to-house looking for men again, shouting “Wanaume!”
“They banged on doors one after the other, systematically, and pulled male residents out of their homes, breaking doors and smashing property,” the report said.
In Korogocho, a police commander said they were provoked, although he urged police restraint. “We were provoked a lot but we tried to avoid escalating the situation. We were attacked with stones, but it was just stones.”
An overwhelming majority of the people killed in the 20 months were young men and boys