Extra Judicial Killings: Philip Alston is Right

Published on 12th June 2009

I read with disgust and shock that some African countries have petitioned the United Nations to fire Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings from his position as a special rapporteur because of reporting on Kenya at the Hague.
 
I concur, welcome and support the report’s emphasis which is vital and urgent that Hague can do a better service delivery to Kenyans than the Kenya Government Judiciary.  It is a shared comprehensive view by Kenyans that Mr. Alston report will help bring some justice to the fore.  I cannot overemphasize how important and considerate Mr. Alston was in providing a way forward to safety and security to Kenyans by the move he took and that Hague is the way forward. This will give a breather in providing collective security to all in Kenya. 
 

Phillip Alston           Photo:Courtesy
We are faced with current threats of disrupted National peace and security from diverse forces that include stolen public property and resources; invasion of Migingo island by Museveni; induced poverty experienced in Kenya by politicians; Mungiki gangs and  Police hooliganism......Mr. Alston saw the grave danger and from his expert judgment he saw it fit to forward the matter to Hague where recommendations for strengthening security can provide a collective security provisions to Kenyans under the United Nations Treaty Agreement. 
 
The report on Kenyan police killings presented at a United Nations Conference in Geneva is a true picture of events of Human Rights Violation in Kenya. Those creating controversies over Mr. Alston's report are people who delve on compounding corruption and impunity, who are specialized character of Human Rights Violators, and who will go to any length to suppress justice and cover their wicked deeds. The police reforms are overdue.
 
The African Nations Group in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) listed and leveled  accusations against Prof Alston on Kenya’s extrajudicial killings and urged its president, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, not to renew Prof Alston’s mandate, which ends in June. In a strongly-worded statement read to the UNHRC in Geneva on Monday, the African Group, represented by Egypt, expressed its displeasure at the conduct of the special rapporteur during his tour of duty in Kenya and the way he framed his final report on police executions. The statement was read by Mr Amr Roshdy.
 
Mr. Alston did Kenya and Kenyans a true justice by forwarding the report as is to the Hague the Geneva meeting.  He is our Hero....He made us proud, that someone would take a poor man's voice to the level of Hague, this alone is highly commended and a credit to Mr. Alston.  I can say here that Mr. Alston has a true human heart of empathy. 
 
The position taken by Africa Nations Group is totally wrong, and is condemned in the strongest terms.  We all know the move to punish Mr. Alston came about and was engineered by the PNU side in the Grand Coalition Government, who accused Prof. Alston of acting outside his mandate. The Nation Newspaper recently reported that Attorney General Amos Wako had lobbied the African Group to push for a resolution before the UNHRC to censure the special rapporteur.
 
Mr. Philip Alston is the True Human Rights Advocate presently known in Kenya whose work can be trusted and relied upon. The report he gave is not news to many Kenyans as well as the International Community.  It is an open book that no one was able to read it open aloud like the way Mr. Alston did.  I commend him for the brave act he put to save Kenyans having gone through many agony and issues.
 
Largely the reforms were to abide by the principles of transparency and accountability; foster and promote relationships with the broader society and co-ordinate, supervise and control all private and quasi-government security organizations to ensure safety and security in Kenya.  This has not happened or will never happen any sooner. Parliament should address the issue of tenure of the Police Commissioner and the CID Director.
 
Other Cited Evidential Facts that Backs Mr. Alston's Report 
 
The police have been accused of violating human rights in recent times, Residents live in fear of youth gangs and the police.  Interviews with locals Kenyans bring about a picture of a people trodden in fear of Mungiki, vigilantes and the police. We are dealing here with situation of brutality and vicious gangs and the police. There is totally no security for the people and fear is felt all over the Nation.
 
Ms Karua has continually hit out at the judiciary and police for working in a disjointed manner and failing to go to the aid of citizens when marauding gangs attack. She has also condemned the shoot-to-kill policy as illegal and Violation Against Human Rights. It has been proved that there is lack of goodwill from those responsible. For reforms to be effectively carried out, the Government system and the security machinery must be effectively coordinated.
 
The Commission on Post-Election Violence (Cipev) delivered a stinging indictment of institutional failure and complicity of internal security apparatus in gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Justice Philip Waki claimed the police "failed institutionally to contain violence". The Cipev report accused some State agents of being "guilty of acts of violence, and in their finding, it is found to be a serious violation of human rights Citizenry" and states that such were the results of a trend towards institutionalizing violence against the public.
 
The Waki Report estimates that 1,133 Kenyans were killed during post-election violence. Of these, 405 had gunshot wounds. Waki recommended that the reform process explore international capacity building possibilities for policing in general with a specific focus on criminal investigations, community based policing and information collection analysis and dissemination.
 
When recently interviewed by a News Reporter, Mr. Chris Murungaru responded that, "Police reform is a marvelous idea and should be supported by all. It will give the force a new image. It will also give the Government opportunity to retrain the officers to comply with the latest technological skills so they are not rendered redundant. This is part of the policies we are undertaking in the Provincial Administration and Internal Security".
 
The Public Mandate requires the process of carrying out further reforms in the police must include the immediate resignation of Attorney-General Amos Wako and the sacking of police commissioner Maj. Gen Hussein Ali, followed by an overhaul Police system in order that trust and normality can set in Kenya for reforms to take effect. 
 
Amnesty also reported on the impunity among police and military officers persisted. The same verdict is declared on the government over the claims of rape, torture, beatings and use of excessive force during a joint police-military operation in Mandera district. The joint operation was to curb the influx of illegal arms from the Horn of Africa. Amnesty says that various torture and killings claims were made against the military during the “Operation Okoa Maisha” in the Mt Elgon area but the government is yet to investigate them. The Kenyan Government has been censured for failing to put in place measures to bring to justice violators of human rights.

Amnesty International highlights impunity as the major issue hindering human rights in Kenya. It reports that during the post-election violence and in the conflict in the Mount Elgon area, women and girls were subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence. “Violence against girls and women was widespread. The government did not impose a moratorium on forced evictions. Public health facilities were poorly funded, equipped and maintained,” the report that covers 2008 says. However, the alleged perpetrators of gender-based violence, including the police and other law enforcement officials, were hardly ever brought to justice. The rights group also says that state security agencies, in 2008, continued to torture and kill suspects with impunity. “The government denied these allegations but had not instituted independent and impartial investigations by the end of the year.”

With Mr. Alston's report, justice is at the door.  We hope the criticism from these African Leaders will not be taken serious.
 
By Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson  Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
USA


This article has been read 606 times
COMMENTS