Media Failing in Holding leaders Accountable
Police brutality and extra-judicial killings continue to be widespread in Kenya even as the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) continues to make strides in investigating the reported cases, unfortunately, the issue continues to get minimal coverage in mainstream media and no one ever follows up.
A recent report by Missing Voices, a consortium of fifteen Civil society organizations has recorded 219 cases of police killings and enforced disappearances in 2021 alone but the story only made it to page 8 and 12 in two separate national newspapers.
“Out of these, 187 cases were of police killings, and 32 of enforced disappearances. Of the 32 cases of enforced disappearances, two of the victims were later found alive after campaigns by civil society organizations,” Missing Voices said in the report.
Originally, there were 36 cases of enforced disappearances; four of these were found dead more than 24 hours after disappearing in police custody, two were returned alive and 30 remain missing.
According to Missing Voices, 219 cases of police killings and enforced disappearances were recorded from 161 separate incidents.
Pangani Police Station on the Spot
They singled out the Pangani Police Station of the infamous Pangani six as the station with the highest number of police killings in Kenya.
The civil society groups documented 30 cases of police killings that are reportedly associated with Pangani Police Station.
“In 2021, every month, with the exception of June, officers from Pangani are accused of murder. For the last three years, during which Missing Voices has actively tracked the data, police have killed more than 500 people,” the report said.
The report by Missing Voices confirms a similar report by the Daily Nation that recorded that there were more cases of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in Kenya in 2021 than any other period in history.
River Yala Bodies
Early this year, an expose of bodies floating in river Yala, a river of western Kenya made headlines. According to the witness accounts, the bodies were of male young adults probably in their thirties.
According to Okero kite, who often retrieves bodies from river Yala, he has Since July 2021 removed 31 bodies from River Yala. On 10th October 2021, Okero reportedly retrieved 10 bodies. Each of the 10 bodies was in individual sacks, and in his own words, “each body was neatly packed and sealed like a parcel.”
The social media uproar sparked by the story and the little media attention it received has since died down and the saga has been long forgotten and people moved on. What happened to being the nation’s watchdog?
Shock as Bodies Dumped in River Yala