Sombre mood engulfed Kisumu City as religious and civic leaders, citizens, kin and kith of the victims of police brutality associated with the recent peaceful demonstrations against high cost of living held prayers at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The prayers, a culmination of the week-long excercise to show love, empathy and compassion to those killed, maimed and brutally injured by the police during the anti-government protests witnessed across the country in the past weeks.
Kisumu has in the recent past been the epicenter of police brutality with residents of Nyalenda, Manyatta, and Obunga bearing the brunt. Reports indicate that innocent young men going about their business in the confines of their homes were forcefully removed clobbered as their parents watched in agony. One family is mourning the death of their son Brian Onyango who was forcefully removed from their house in Nyalenda and brutally beaten by the police alongside his brother William who is also fighting for his life at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
The Coalition leaders are now pointing an accusing finger at the police whom they have accused of using excessive and unnecessary force against innocent, peaceful protesters.
Speaking on behalf of the leaders, Rarieda MP Otiendo Amollo said as leaders, they are convinced the police deployed in Kisumu aimed to kill as most of the gunshot wounds were mainly targeted at the chest. He termed the actions as an extreme case of police brutality.
” It is possible there were militia deployed in Kisumu and we want to know from the government who deployed those militia”. He said
In view of the atrocities, the leaders are demanding answers from the government terming the killings in Kisumu as pure genocide. They claim the killings are a case of ethnic profiling with the luo community being the main target with a killer squad instituted to undertake the massacre.
The leaders have warned the government and have confirmed that they will take legal action to address the brutality meted on their people as they seek justice.
Peter Opondo Kaluma, Homabay Town MP confirmed that a team of lawyers have been constituted to take legal action against the government. The team will institute a constitutional petition in the High Court of Kenya on behalf of the victims of police brutality across the country. They have put in place enough material to lodge a case before the International Criminal Court on mass killings, petition the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial Killings as well as lodge a petition with the African Union to establish the Office of the Special Envoy to investigate police brutality in Kenya among others.
The leaders visited those still admitted at the hospital and the hospital mortuary where they discovered eleven (11) bodies rising from the recent protests all with gunshot wounds. The team also raised funds to assist the families.
Over the last two weeks, 15 deaths have been reported with nineteen (19) victims still admitted in hospital. Evidence shows that all the victims suffered gunshot wounds, broken legs, hands caused by blunt objects used by the police all in the name of quelling the protests.
To alleviate the pain and suffering, Kisumu Governor on Wednesday waived all medical and mortuary bills of the victims in all public facilities and promised to review the same at the end of July.
The leaders are now calling on the international community to speak up and save kenyans from the sufferings.
The Clergy also added their voice by calling on the President to protect the lives of those he swore to protect.
For a long time, police abuse of power was commonplace in Kenya and the public and human rights advocates made unending calls to the authorities to end the vice resulting to a reduction of the same. Sadly, the vice is slowly creeping back with the police using unnecessary force on peaceful protesters.