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KENYA: SAFE HAVEN FOR DRUG BARONS?

Cocaine: Rich rewards for drugs cartels in Kenya...and also the police?

An exposé aired last week by KTN revealed that drug barons in Kenya have become so powerful the government is unable to fight them. The Jicho Pevu and The Inside Story exposé titled ‘Paruwanja la Mihadarati’ and ‘The Untouchables’ respectively, gave a chilling account of how officers linked to drug cartels may have conspired with senior members in Government to eliminate four police officers investigating drug cartels.

Its alleged that one of the officers from the GSU department, Erastus Chemorei, was shot dead by more than 20 police officers at his home near Kitale town, allegedly after he refused to hand over keys to a store at the General Service Unit (GSU) headquarters where the Sh6 billion cocaine haul had been stored.

POLICE ORDERED ME TO EAT MY FRIENDS BRAINS

Mr Abubakar Ndiema, Chemorei’s neighbour who witnessed his execution, gave a harrowing account in the second episode of the series of how he was forced to scoop and eat the former GSU officer’s brains (”Police shot my friend and ordered me to eat his brains’, Standard), carry the corpse to one of the police Range Rovers and how he was also made to lay on top of Chemorei’s body as the police covered them in the same blanket.

After MPs led by MPs Rachel Shebesh, Benjamin Washiali and Martha Karua, raised the issue in

Martha Karua MP "Is the government under the control of drug cartels?"

Parliament wanting to know what the Government was doing about the issue, Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode said the police had set up a committee to unearth the truth in the media reports.

“Can the Minister be real and tell us whether the government is under the control of drug cartels?” posed Gichugu MP Martha Karua, adding that majority of police officers in Coast Province ought to be transferred because they were in bed with drug-traffickers.

On his part Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere, has so far denied the report that officers were killed because they were linked to the drugs haul and said a team of experts, from various sectors in and out of Government, would be appointed to examine how the Sh6.4 billion-cocaine haul was seized, stored, investigated and disposed of.

SHOOT THE MESSENGER…

He has also threatened to sue KTN for the investigative report which he termed as “unprofessional” and said individual officers named would also sue the station and individual journalists.”We as a Force will also complain to the Media Council because we feel the report was malicious and in bad taste, leave alone having several falsehoods,” he added.

The big question is how the police force, which has been accused of being compromised by drug warlords, will investigate itself? Isn’t it more like asking the left hand to investigate the right!

MISSING CULPRITS, MISSING DRUGS

In 2004 Kenyan Police seized a consignment of cocaine worth 6.4 billion Kenyan shillings, the biggest consignment to have ever been nabbed in East Africa. Seven years down the line, no one has been held responsible.

On March 25, 2011, 98 packets of cocaine weighing 2 kgs each with a street value of Ksh 500 million were netted in Shanzu area in Mombasa. The 6 suspects, 3 Kenyans, 2 Iranians, and 1 Pakistani national were charged the same day for alleged drug trafficking. The consignment which originally weighed 196 kg came to weigh 102 kg three days later when the suspects reappeared in court. The mysterious disappearance of the 94 kg of heroin is yet to be resolved.

US DRUG DOSSIER

Former US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger had earlier in the year handed a dossier to the Kenya anti-corruption authority, seeking investigations against five MPs and a businessman for alleged drug trafficking. Mr Punjani, together with MPs Harun Mwau (Kilome), William Kabogo (Juja), Gideon Mbuvi (Makadara) and Ali Hassan Joho (Kisauni) were all investigated in connection with drug trafficking. However, the police, in their preliminary report tabled in the House early in the year, failed to get any evidence to link the five to the crime. Yesterday the Kilome MP, Harun Mwau, and his counterpart William Kabogo, were cleared of involvement in the drug trade.

Kenya has been targeted by drug smugglers because of its geographical position and its weak drug policies.  Both heroin and cocaine have been smuggled from Asia through Kenya and on to other destinations. Judging from the unfolding of events and the manner in which cases pertaining drugs have been handled, the government appears to be under the control of drug cartels as the investigations only cleared the named suspects without telling us who then the real drug traffickers are.

President Kenyatta declared winner.

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