April 17, 2014


The Independent Police Oversight Commission have launched an investigation into police conduct, including in the Usalama Watch operation.

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Police oversight investigation launched into Usalama Watch operation

Police oversight investigation launched into Usalama Watch operation

The Independent Police Oversight Commission (IPOA) has launched an official investigation to probe the manner in which the police have carried out the recent security operations that are currently taking place across the country.

The commission, whose mission is to conduct impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitoring of the National Police Service to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism in the interest of the public, has already send out investigators at several police stations where alleged immigrants are being held including the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport detention centres to look into the matter.

Other investigators have also been dispatched to the Kasarani Stadium where thousands are being detained for being in Kenya illegally. The investigation comes at the height of much criticism from a section of the public and both political and religious leaders who have accused the police of ethnic profiling of individuals, harassment and arbitrary arrests among other atrocities during the Usalama Watch operation which began in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate at the height of the numerous terror attacks that rocked the area and Mombasa County in the recent past.

Last week on Friday, the National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened to withdraw support for the Jubilee government over what he termed as arbitrary arrests of “his people“.

“We stand by the interests of our people. There should be no doubt about that,” Mr. Duale said adding that they were elected by the Muslim community and they shall defend their interests. He was speaking at a rally in Eastleigh attended by over 20 MPs and Senators from North Eastern, Coast and Upper Eastern regions where Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow accused the government of encouraging youth radicalization by the way it was fighting terrorism.


The criticism notwithstanding, the crackdown on illegal immigrants has so far been extended to the 47 counties as police step up the fight against crime and terrorism even as questions are being raised on whether the operation will bring a lasting solution to the increased terror attacks and threats to the country.

So far, scores of people have been arrested and are being detained for being in the country illegally and others have been earmarked for deportation.

According to the IPOA Chairperson Macharia Njeru, the investigations being undertaken by his team are focused around the alleged profiling of members of certain ethnic groups, unlawful detention and deportations of individuals. He maintains that disciplinary action will be taken against individual members of the National Police Service who will be found guilty of the alleged crimes.

IPOA was established through an Act of Parliament published in November 2011 to provide for civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya.

Well security must be maintained by all means but then again as Macharia Njeru maintains ”Despite increased wave of crime, including various acts of terrorism, IPOA is of the firm view that the only way to deal with suspected perpetrators, is through the rule of law and more so by ensuring all security operations meet the Constitutional threshold of respect for human rights”.


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