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Police reforms have flopped, says ICJ Kenya

23 January 2015, 09:38 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Kenya’s International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said the anticipated police reforms have flopped following the Monday incident where anti-riot police used brutal force by lobbying teargas at protesting schoolchildren and activists in Nairobi.

The ICJ Executive Director, George Kegoro, condemned the police officers’ action and insisted that that was a reminder of massive abuse of police powers and a confirmation that the ongoing reforms at the National Police Service have back peddled.

The Lang’ata Road Primary School pupils and activists staged a protest against the grabbing of the school’s playground land by a private developer, but the demo turned violent when police fired tear gas at them, an act that sparked both local and international outcry.

“ICJ Kenya regrets that the inglorious institutional character of the police as a brutal force averse to the Bill of Rights and eager to serve the whims of corrupt and powerful individuals is still intact,” said Kegoro.

The Commission supported the schoolchildren and activists’ move to protest saying the deployment of police to disperse protesters intended to protect vested interests of undisclosed persons linked to the grabbing.

“ICJ Kenya reiterates that the Constitution protects the weak and defenseless and safeguards their rights and entitlements. We wish to remind the government that the justification for constitutional and institutional reforms was the need to re-invent and revigorate key institutions of governance,” said Kegoro.

Read Also: Public land grabbers to face stiff penalties

He asserted that his Commission was aware the school had already deposited evidentiary documents to the National Land Commission indicating full ownership of the playground.

“ICJ Kenya urges the National Land Commission to conclusively review all land titles of public schools and institutions and revert any public land irregularly transferred to private entities,” said Kegoro.

He affirmed of ICJ's solidarity with the human rights defenders who resist any form of corruption such as illegal and irregular take-over of public land for a few people’s selfish gains.

“The freedom of association and assembly is a constitutional guarantee exercisable at all times and not at the pleasure of the government,” warned Kegoro.

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