By Khalifa Hemed
Published March 3, 2018
Police and armed gangs killed at least 37 people in Nairobi during the second phase of Kenya’s presidential election between September and November 2017.
Human Rights Watch says police killed at least 23 people, most of them opposition supporters, in various Nairobi neighborhoods while armed gangs killed at least 14. The second presidential election was held on October 26 after the one held on August 8 was annulled by the country’s Supreme Court.
HRW says reports by the pathologist on the dead showed that most of them were shot and killed at close range and, in most cases, by a high caliber rifle. Saying ‘most people died when police confronted protesters with teargas and live bullets,” HRW says that “in some cases police shot at passersby going about their daily routine, or at groups of youths standing together.”
The rights body says “Kenyan police violently dispersed protests, in many cases shooting or beating demonstrators and bystanders to death. On significant dates, police carried out house-to-house operations in opposition stronghold areas such as Kariobangi, Dandora, Mathare, and Kibera and shot to death, beat, and injured dozens of people.”
HRW says “[President Uhuru] Kenyatta has neither acknowledged the killings nor called for them to be investigated, while at the same time lavishing unqualified praise on the police.”
Calling upon President Kenyatta “to demonstrate that he believes in the rule of law by publicly condemning all unlawful killings, and ensuring they are investigated,” Otsieno Namwaya, Africa Researcher at HRW, says “Lack of accountability is a longtime concern in Kenya, and officials need to show that they are committed to seeing justice done for these killings.”
A joint report released in October by HRW and Amnesty International (AI) showed that “at least 67 people were killed countrywide during the first round of voting in August, most of them either shot or beaten to death by police.”