Geoffrey Mutinda lost his life this last this Tuesday. This happened as he was playing in the balcony of his home, when this happened and the police were trying to disperse a crowd that had assembled to listen to NASA Leader Raila Odinga speak. The main suspect of this shooting, the police, this has been the subject of discussion as to how the police operate and how they have been doing their job this last few days. Questions linger as to how a small boy lost his life while playing in the balcony of his home.
The media has been at the center stage in order to give out some information as to the recent killings after the electioneering period. The discussion has shifted but a few issues have to be discussed and the media needs to be vocal about certain issues.
How independent are the police?
Under the constitution the Kenya Police Service is an independent body and is supposed to serve the interests of the Kenyan people and are to be non partisan to either political party. NASA has been giving a narrative of a Police which is being used to do the dirty work of the Jubilee Party such as break up their “peaceful protests” and not giving them any permission to hold a public rally any day.
The media should be fast to look into any links that have been advanced in order to make sure there is no infringement on people rights during this protests. There is a need to give proper coverage to both sides of the divide.
How peaceful are these protests
The said protest or peaceful walks by the opposition are always dimmed as lawful by the coalition top guard. However the police are always quick to dispel this and always claim that the protesters are always carrying crude weapons.
There is need for the media to always look into the said protesters and see if there is organization in the way the protests are prepared. The media needs to question who or what starts these violent protests is it the police or is it the protesters.
The police also need to come out and tell us really how the process of crowd dispersion works. The process of crowd dispersion has been described as one that should not begin with tear gassing but persuasion then looking for other means of dispersing the crowds that have assembled. However there is little that has been to make the public aware of how this process is supposed to work.
The role of IPOA
This is another issue that is always arising the police is quick to say that any complaints should be forwarded to the Independent Police Oversight Authority. The oversight authority has however not made public some of the findings they have found in the past. The only report that has come to the limelight is that of the deaths of Samantha Pendo and Stephanie Moraa. The oversight body needs to make public how they handle the investigations and why they take long to come up with some of the reports.
They are not just statistics
The media needs to start treating these deaths like statistics and put the name to face if at all they want this conversation to move this conversation to a serious light. For instance they need to start working on making sure that at least they have identified the families and tried to get to the bottom of each story in order to give us some credibility to these reports.