Suffering Kenyan Children: A Photo Essay
Video footage of policeman shooting and killing unarmed protestor in Kisumu.
By our guest writer
In an unprecedented move in April 2004, President Kibaki appointed an army soldier, Maj Gen Mohamed Hussein Ali, then a Brigadier, the Commissioner of Police.
Maj Gen Ali replaced a career policeman, Mr Edwin Nyaseda, who made history by serving the shortest period at the helm of Vigilance House.
The soldier was appointed against a backdrop of heightened insecurity across the country and his appointment was greeted with joy and relieve by Kenyans who had suffered in the hands of murderous thugs.
Kenyans had high expectations that the new police chief would borrow a leaf from the military and instill the much-desired professionalism in the archaic police force.
They had high expectations that there would be a major departure from the past leadership of the Kenya Police and that the force would live up to its motto, Utumishi kwa Wote (Service to All), and be accountable to the people it was meant to serve.
But going by the events following the declaration of Mr Mwai Kibaki as the winner of the December 27 General Election, through open theft and fraud, Kenyans have had the opportunity to know the real character heading the Kenya Police.
There is no doubt this man is blood thirsty and he has no regard for human life. Life became even more cheaper in Kenya with the arrival of Maj Gen Ali at Vigilance House. How much more blood will this man spill before he is stopped?
Maj Gen Ali’s predecessors – who had risen through the ranks in the Kenya Police – were no angels. The force was accused of being trigger-happy during their reign.
But the situation dramatically changed for the worst as Maj Gen Ali asserted his authority at police headquarters. Apart from the force still being trigger-happy, Maj Gen Ali has turned the Kenya Police into a killing machine.
There is a wide gap between the crimes committed by Maj Gen Ali and his predecessors. While his predecessors were accused of executing robbery suspects, Maj Gen Ali has taken the killings to an unprecedented perfection – he has turned the force into a killings machine targeting both robbery suspects and thousands of innocent civilians under the disguise of fighting crime and improving security in Kenya.
The volume of blood shed by police bullets during the past four years of Maj Gen Ali’s leadership of the Kenya Police will haunt Kenya for generations to come.
The graves that dot all parts of the country, being the permanent resting place for victims of police bullets during Maj Ali’s reign, has outnumber the combined tally during the reigns of all the other post-independent commissioners of police.
Unless this soldier is stopped NOW – not tomorrow – Kenya will be a mass grave of bullet-riddled bodies.
It has been disgusting watching TV clips of Kenyan Police brutally venting their anger and frustration on their fellow citizens in a bid to protect President Kibaki, who has been sitting comfortably at State House watching TV after stealing the elections. It seems the stolen Presidency has to be protected at all costs – even if wiping some communities from the face of Kenya.
The sight of enthusiastic policemen being seen on the TV pumping bullets into unarmed demonstrators protesting the stolen Presidential election has been disgusting. It appears that police have found a new sporting activity by turning human beings into shooting targets. They are on the streets to perfect the skills they failed to polish at Kiganjo.
On the first day of the mass action called by the ODM, KTN viewers were left speechless and terrified when they watched a lone policeman in a Kisumu suburb pumping bullets to two unarmed men lying on the ground injured. Their pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears as the policeman opened fire at them at close range. The fact that the policeman cared little that his actions were being filmed by a TV camera told a big story.
The actions of Maj Gen Ali since he arrived at police headquarters clearly shows he has no regard for human life. Life has become so cheap in Kenya and Kenyans seems happy to swim in the blood of their fellow Kenyans.
We all suffer from the collective guilt of watching helpless as Maj Gen Ali turn his guns on real and imaginary enemies of the State – to protect his own job and to protect the pretender-to-the-throne illegally occupying State House.
I’ll cite a few instances:
1: In 2005, Maj Gen Ali ordered his officers to use helicopters to hunt down and execute any Maasai tribesmen on sight as a way to end clashes in Mai Mahiu. Dozens of Maasai men were summarily shot dead by officers aboard the helicopters and the real number of the dead was never made public due to the firm grip Maj Gen Ali has on the top leadership of the main stream media. No wonder the Maa community –led by their King, William ole Ntimama, overwhelmingly voted against President Kibaki.
2: In October 2005, police shot dead three primary school pupils on their way home and an innocent milk vendor during riots in Kisumu sparked off by the referendum on the controversial Constitution being pushed by the Kibaki Administration.
Maj Gen Ali hurriedly called a Press conference to publicly thank his officers for a job well done. He said he had no apology to make and claimed those shot dead had attempted to raid Kondele Police Station. When it later emerged he had lied the public and those killed were innocent pupils who were nowhere near the police station, Maj Gen Ali tried to manipulate the media to do damage control for him.
The killer-police were not punished and they are still on the loose killing more Kenyans. Maj Gen Ali should not be allowed to get away from these senseless killings.
3: When the police was last year rendered impotent and powerless by murderous Mungiki thugs in parts of Nairobi, Central and Rift Valley provinces, the police resorted to randomly rounding up youths from the slums in Nairobi and from poor homes in Central province.
The youths were taken to forests –especially Ngong, Naivasha and others in Central province – and executed before anything could be proved against them. Their bodies were either left to rot and be eaten by wild animals in the killing fields or dumped in mortuaries across the three provinces.
In fact, most of the families – like that of Kimani Ruo – have never traced the remains of their loved ones since they were killed in remote forests and their bodies left to be mauled by wild animals.
In Mathare, young men, women and children were shot dead by the police in mid last year under the guise of flushing out Mungiki gangs from the sprawling slum village. The bodies were loaded unto police lorries and ferried to remote areas in Ngong, Kiserian and Kitengela and fed to beasts. Police ferried the bullet-riddled bodies in their lorries as their dripped blood on the roads.
The mainstream media was united in covering up the truth on behalf of Maj Gen Ali and the actual number of innocent people killed in Mathare. Kenyans and the world were fed with distorted news.
The same thing happened in a home in Murang’a. The police surrounded a house in one of the villages and executed at least 60 young men – including primary school kids – in cold blood on allegations they were taking an illegal oath.
None of the youths was armed and it’s still a puzzle why the police never arrested and took them to court to prove their allegations against them. The media first claimed only seven youth were shot dead. But they started rising the figure up to 27 when the international media and blogs like Kumekucha revealed the actual number of fatalities.
Independent investigations by Kumekucha revealed that more than 1,000 people were killed in Mathare and Murang’a in the month of July last year alone.
A damning report released by the state-owned Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in the run-up to the December 27 General Election revealed that close to 5,000 Kenyans were executed by the police in three months from July in parts of Nairobi, Rift Valley and Central under the guise of fighting Mungiki. But it has since emerged that a majority of those executed were innocent youths – whose only crime was they were poor.
If the police was effective, as Maj Gen Ali has wanted the country and the international community to believe, they would have been pro-active – gathering intelligence in advance and prevent the Mungiki gangs and other criminals from carrying out crimes against innocent Kenyans. But from the look of things, the police were always caught flat-footed by the rag-tag Mungiki gangs. All the police could do was to wait and round up youths for execution.
4: The conduct of the police in handling riots triggered by the stolen Presidential election has exposed the stuff Maj Gen Ali is made off. The police have come out in full force – a thing that has never been witnessed in Kenya’s independent history – to defend the stolen presidency. Kenya has been turned into a police state.
Being a career soldier, Maj Gen Ali knows survival tactics. It’s public knowledge that Maj Gen Ali had fallen out with the Kibaki Administration in 2006 over growing discontent within the force over his poor leadership and rising insecurity through out the country.
In fact, the bona fide president for Kenya after the December 27 General Election, Mr Raila Odinga, had been applying pressure on the Government to sack Maj Gen Ali after the Kisumu killings. Mr Odinga publicly stated that the solder should be sent back to the army where they are used to kill people.
When Maj Gen Ali fell out of favour with the system and a dark cloud hang over his head in 2006, he saw the only way to survive was to strike a deal with Mr Odinga. The commissioner seized the Golden opportunity of the presence of the Artur brothers in the country to bring Mr Odinga to his side.
It is widely known within the security agencies that the information that Mr Odinga used to reveal in doses about the Arturs came from Maj Gen Ali. In fact, the two often held private talks. Mr Odinga’s backing was a major boost to the Muslim police chief since Mr Odinga enjoys a fanatical support of Muslim community. The Government would have shot itself in the foot had they sacked Maj Gen Ali in the run up on the crucial General Election.
Soon, Mr Odinga was to change his hard line stance on Maj Gen Ali and he started giving him public backing every time Kibaki Administration made a move to sack the commissioner. Not leaving anything to chance, Maj Gen Ali cleverly lured First Lady Lucy Kibaki’s support by taking advantage of the Arturs saga.
Lucy’s marital bitter rival, Ms Mary Wambui, was said to be backing the Arturs. By appearing to be against the presence of the Arturs in Kenya, Maj Gen Ali managed to win Lucy’s support and this cleared doubts about his future in the Kenya Police due to Lucy’s influence on President Kibaki.
Word which has been spreading round was that President Kibaki intended to drop Maj Gen Ali after the elections when he formed his new Government. But the loss that President Kibaki stared in the face against Mr Odinga seems to have given Maj Gen Ali a new lease of life. Between the two, Maj Gen Ali knew he stood better chances of remaining the police chief under a Kibaki presidency.
Due to the anxiety that had gripped the country, Kenyans missed an incidence that happened a KICC a few minutes before Mr Kivuitu declared Mwai Kibaki the winner. When the ODM got wind of the massive rigging and attempted to block Mr Kivuitu from announcing fake election results, GSU commandos burst into the media centre and cleared everybody who was there – even the media was driven out of KICC grounds save for the state-owned KBC.
Behind the scenes, Maj Gen Ali was flexing his muscles. He had been monitoring the events from his office across KICC and he knew Kivuitu was going to announce fake results. He had make arrangements for hundreds of GSU commandos to stay behind the scene and only strike when the hour of need came.
As Maj Gen Ali’s impatience grew in his office, he ordered the GSU to move in and whisk Mr Kivuitu to another room where he was forced to announce the results under police duress. In the meantime, Maj Gen Ali walked across to KICC and stood guard to ensure Mr Kivuitu did not rock the boat. What was the role of the police commissioner in the announcement of the results while that role squarely lay with the ECK chief?
Thinking that all the other independent media had been cleared from KICC ground, Maj Gen Ali walked out of front side of KICC after the results were announced and he was captured by a defiant NTV cameraman who had remained behind. Maj Gen Ali walked to his vehicle and sped off to State House where a ceremony to swear in President Kibaki had been arranged 12 hours before the results were publicly known! Were it not for Maj Gen Ali, Mr Kivuitu most likely not have agreed to announce fake results.
In order to further please President Kibaki, Maj Gen Ali has brought thousands of brutal police officers onto the streets to defend the stolen presidency. Where have all these policemen been when Kenyans are being butchered by thugs in all parts of the country?
President Kibaki and Maj Gen Ali have one thing in common – GREED FOR POWER. Maj Gen Ali has gone out of his way to defend the illegitimate president with his eye on retaining his current job. As a result, Maj Gen Ali has activated his killing machine. The number of Kenyans felled by police bullets in the post-election violence stands at more than 1,000, according to reliable security sources, contrary to the figure of less than 500 being given by police headquarters.
Kenyans have seen more GSU paratroopers on the streets that it has never been the case before. Insiders in the force say Maj Gen Ali has a soft spot for the GSU since their training is similar to the military. He has not time for the regular police and the CID.
It has been argued that President Kibaki made a very serious mistake – which can be costly- by ensuring Kenya’s three key security agencies – the The Armed Forces , the Kenya Police and the National Security Intelligence Service – are headed by military men.
There are no checks under the current arrangement since the three men - Gen Kianga (Chief of General Staff), Maj Gen Ali (Police) and Mr Gichangi (Intelligence) – are answerable to the same chain of command. Their seniority follows the order listed. This spells doom for the country if the three men opt to conspire.
For instance, the NSIS boss is supposed to operate independently and spy on everybody. He is supposed to be only answerable to the President. But in the current state Mr Gichangi is answerable to two bosses – the president and Gen Kiangi. And knowing the discipline in the forces, how is Mr Gichangi expected to spy on his military boss and report him to the President?
Maj Gen Ali has survived in the force despite committing serious crimes against humanity due to the inefficiency of the President and his ability to cow the mainstream media. Its widely known in the media circles that Maj Gen Ali has a firm grip on the top leadership in all the key media houses. He did this with the help of his lover and the proprietor of Kameme FM, Ms Rose Kimotho. The evils and atrocities committed against the Kenyan people have been covered up by the media which is the watchdog of the society.
From the way Maj Gen Ali has been dispensing “justice” and conducting the affairs of the Kenya Police, there is no need to have courts in Kenya. The Kenya Police has taken the entire role of the criminal justice system in Kenya – being the investigator, prosecutor, executor, name it.
He lacks any skills and strategy in fighting crime and the best he can do is to execute innocent Kenyans. I submit here that Maj Gen Ali should personally be held responsible for these gang-land style executions. The International Court of Justice should immediately indict him and put him on trial for crimes against humanity.
Kenya has become a dangerous place to live in since Maj Gen Ali took over the leadership of the Kenya Police and the faster he is taken to account for his injustices against the Kenya people, the better.
This blood-thirsty police commissioner should not be allowed to spill any more blood with impunity.