The civilian police watchdog is promising swift justice for 10-year-old Stephanie Moraa, six-month-old Samantha Pendo and several others as it embarks on investigations into acts of police brutality on protesters following the declaration that President Kenyatta had won the August 8 elections.
10-year old Moraa died of a bullet wound in the chest while baby Pendo’s skull was cracked by a blunt object, according to autopsy reports conducted on their bodies.
Independent Policing and Oversight Authority chairman Macharia Njeru said he had picked the best investigators to pursue the two cases, among others.
“We have been guaranteed cooperation by the National Police Service and we assure Kenyans we will carry out speedy investigations with a view to establishing the truth and promising justice to the victims and their families,” he said.
Police have since said that though they are also conducting investigations, no deaths have occurred as a result of their action to curb violent protests in parts of Nairobi, Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya counties.
“We advise the public that IPOA has set up investigation teams composed of its most experienced investigators to give special focus on the recently conducted General Election related misconduct allegedly attributed to police officers. This includes the cases of young Stephanie Moraa in Nairobi, Baby Samantha Pendo in Kisumu and several others in Nairobi and Kisumu. The nature of cases under investigations encompass deaths and injuries of both serious and minor nature,” said Mr Njeru.
The civilian oversight body is also depending on the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to ensure those responsible are brought to book.
“We have been assigned prosecutors by the Office of the DPP to be embedded with our investigators with a view to expediting these cases while at the same time taking into account quality assurance,” added Mr Njeru.
The Nation team visited the affected areas.
In Kisumu, County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim said the government will only take responsibility of baby Pendo’s death, but only if investigations reveal police were culpable.
He said County Criminal Investigations officer Geoffrey Kathurima was under instructions from the area’s security and intelligence committee to establish circumstances that led to the baby’s death.
BEATEN BY POLICE
“We have to trust our agencies, which includes police and organisations such as IPOA to investigate fully and come up with a comprehensive report on what led to the death of the baby, until then we cannot take responsibility,” Mr Maalim said.
Her parents were beaten by police officers who stormed their house, they told the Nation.
“They kept shouting that they would shoot if we did not let them in. Finally they threw teargas canisters into the house and beat up my wife, our two children, and me” said Mr Abanja.
In Mathare, Nairobi, Mrs Jackie Lebo from Mathare 4A, is also mourning the death of her son.
Silas Lebo, who was a form four student at Barding Secondary School in Siaya, was taken out of the house by police, beaten up and later died at Kenyatta National Hospital.
“What did my son have to do with the election? He did not even vote, he was not involved,” she mourned her last born.
“It was on Saturday night at around 9pm, police had instructed that everyone shut themselves home. But then the police knocked down the door, got him and his friend from the bedroom and started beating them up, I only heard screams and came wailing asking why they wanted to kill my son.
“That’s when they stopped but my son was unconscious. So after police left neighbours called an ambulance which took him to hospital,” said Mrs Lebo.
President Kenyatta was announced the winner of hotly contested election on August, 11, three days after the polls.
“The doctors at Kenyatta Hospital told us he died from severe injuries on the back of his head,” said Mrs Lebo.
She said her son’s body was preserved at the hospital’s mortuary.
Another family is mourning the death of Mr Albert Onyango at Koyolo village in Homa Bay.
According to Elphers Awuodi, Mr Onyango was shot in the abdomen by police officers.
“He was shot by one of the officers who was shooting to disperse protesters,” he said.
According to him, the victim sustained bullet wounds in the chest.
He added police opened fire at a group in Rangwe trading centre.
“I am asking for justice to prevail in the brutal murder of my son. He was not even interested in politics,” Taro Omollo, the young man’s father.
Homa Bay County Commissioner Kasim Farah said he is not aware of any person with gunshot wound sustained during protests in the county.
“There is nobody who has been shot according to our investigation. We have gone into the mortuary and found no bodies with gun wounds,” said Mr Farah.
A visit by the Nation to Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital revealed Onyango’s body is still at the hospital mortuary.
In Siaya, Mr Zechariah Ouma, 30, a bodaboda cyclist was allegedly killed by anti-riot on Siaya-Kisumu highway.
“We want justice for my husband, he was killed under unclear circumstances by the police,” said his widow Jackline Atieno.
She added: “My husband left for his normal routine at 6am on Friday. He came back at around 1pm for lunch and left in haste only for him to die after IEBC announced President Kenyatta as the winner.”
Nyanza Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega said police did not kill anybody since they did not use live bullets.
“I am not aware of any incident where police officers have used bullets. No live ammunition has been used so far,” he told theNation.
In Nairobi’s Kawangware estate, Ms Mary Wanjiku and Ms Susan Wanjiru are mourning the death of their nephew Paul Mungai Ngoosa.
They told the Nation he was shot by a police officer and died at Kenyatta National Hospital.
“There were riots on that day and I told Paul and my children to get away from the road and into the kiosk. I locked the kiosk from outside with a padlock and left. Later, my son came to me telling me that Paul has been shot,” said a teary Ms Wanjiku.
She said he was shot on Thursday, a day before the presidential election results were declared.
According to Wanjiku, police opened fire at demonstrators who were throwing stones at a police vehicle at Kawangware 56.
“The bullet passed through a corrugated iron sheet wall before hitting a bucket and then hitting Mungai who was taking cover inside the charcoal kiosk together with three other people,” she said.
Paul was rushed to the nearby Mutheithania Hospital and later referred to KNH where he was taken to theatre and later at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
He had bullet injuries in the stomach.
Ms Wanjiku said detectives from Kabete Police Station visited the scene of the shooting and took photographs.
In Kibera, Nairobi, 51-year-old Beatrice Amoiti said her cousin Washington Oduga, 18 went missing on the day President Uhuru’s victory was announced.
“The youth were dispersed by police who started shooting at them using live bullets. However, Washington did not return to the house and we have not seen him since August 11,” she said.
He is a form four student at Kolanya High school in Teso North Busia County.
Other people showed theNation, injuries they allegedly sustained after being beaten by police.
Miriam Akinyi, 25, said she was shot by police, the day the results were announced.
“I was selling vegetables when I heard noise from protesting youth. I was shot on my chest and I fell down. When I rose up I found that they had used a rubber bullet and because of the impact, I suffered an injury and had to be rushed to the Kibera Southern health Centre by neighbours where I was treated and discharged,” said Ms Akinyi.
Mr Joel Onyango, 32, had a bandaged leg while speaking to the Nation.
“I don’t even engage in politics, I work near Lenana School and I come home only during weekends, I was here because of the elections break,” he said.
Reported By Fred Mukinda, Elizabeth Ojina, Rushdie Oudia, Barack Odour, Nelcon Odhiambo, Brian Moseti, Collins Omulo And Faith Nyamai.
Police oversight authority says it has dispatched its best team to probe the killings saying it will take to court the guilty.