Posted by ANTHONY KAGIRI and BERNARD MOMANYI on February 25, 2009
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Visiting United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Philip Alston released his report Wednesday and called for sacking of Police Commissioner Maj Gen Hussein Ali and the resignation of Attorney General Amos Wako over killings by security forces.
Professor Alston said he had gathered incriminating evidence on the police during his two week tour of Kenya, and concludes that there exists what he termed ‘systematic and well planned executions’. He questioned the continued silence by President Mwai Kibaki, who has failed to institute reforms in the police department despite having received recommendations from various civil rights organisations and the Waki commission, which documented the post election violence.
“His (the President) silence to date on this issue is both conspicuous and problematic. The reforms should begin with the immediate dismissal of the police commissioner,” he said. “Any serious commitment, impunity that currently reigns in relation to the widespread and systematic killings by the police should begin with the immediate dismissal of the Police Commissioner,” Prof Alston recommends.
The UN envoy expressed frustrations with the arrogance of security agencies, who have denied the existence of the illegal killings. "The good news on my visit was that the police commissioner assured me on two occasions that no extrajudicial killings take place here. It seems to me that he and his colleagues are the only people who believe that claim,” Prof Alston asserted.
He said that Kenya’s police force lacks a system of accountability. "The Kenyan Police are a law unto themselves and they kill often with impunity. There is no system of internal accountability in the Kenyan police. The police who kill are the same who investigate these killings!” He said the resignation of the Attorney General will help restore integrity in the prosecution department and would end the culture of impunity in Kenya.
“The resignation of the Attorney General is an essential first step to restoring the integrity of the office and ending its role in promoting impunity in Kenya,” he said. In order to ensure independent prosecutions, he said, the prosecutorial powers held by the AG should be removed and an independent department of public prosecutions created. The International Centre for Policy and Conflict welcomed the rapporteur’s report and called for its implementation.
“President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga must own up to failed political leadership to stem impunity and publicly apologize to Kenyans. Further, they must decisively confront head on the culture of impunity by first immediately sacking the Attorney General, Police Commissioner in line with the Rapporteur’s recommendations,” Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said in a statement.
Prof Alston’s report comes a day after the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) released damning confessions documented from a police officer who claimed he was involved in the executions of 58 Mungiki suspects.
The UN envoy termed the KNCHR report as ‘shocking’ and called for thorough and independent investigations in a view to prosecuting all those implicated.
“Certainly, you cannot dismiss the video and statement by the whistleblower. I have gone to many countries and seen a lot of evidence and I am able to tell what is not genuine. This is not,” he said.
The confessions by the slain police constable Bernard Kirinya document how special units in the police department carried out numerous executions that mainly targeted people perceived to be leaders of the outlawed Mungiki sect.
He recalls how they abducted several Mungiki leaders and suspects who went missing before their bodies were found dumped in forests, dams and mortuaries.