The Standard Newspaper on its website posted on 21st August, 2021 a story: “Police gone rogue? IPOA now probing 105 deaths”. The story covered rampant cases of police brutality resulting to maiming and death have reached alarming levels. It went out by saying; ‘‘Kenya has recorded a chillingly high number of civilians who have died or been maimed while in police custody. Statistics from the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) show that between January and June of this year, 1,324 complaints were filed. Out of these, 105 were allegations of deaths and serious injuries. The statistics show that 21 people have died in police custody in the last six months, while 55 died from police action. Also, 15 cases of shooting, causing injuries, have been reported as well as 12 forced disappearances and two cases resulting from unlawful discharge of firearms.’’
The brutality exhibited by the police force has its beginning when the country was under the British colonial rule. Under the British colonial government, the role of the police was to protect the interests of the administration. It was not to serve the interests of the general populace. The British had battled the anti-colonial Mau Mau uprising by confining some 1.5 million Kenyans to a network of detention camps and heavily patrolled villages and carried out systematic violence.
This violent behavior dodged into successive post-independence leaders who used the police units to advance their interests. Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, used the police force to suppress dissenting voices. An example of this was the Kisumu massacre in 1969 when police fired into a crowd protesting at the president’s visit. At least 11 were killed and hundreds were injured.His successor, Daniel arap Moi, used the police as a tool for repression and assassinations as well as detention and torture of his political opponents. The Muslim community has been raising concern over the series of extrajudicial killing and enforced mysterious disappearances of the terror suspects by the police units.
The police recruitment process is marred with corruption, nepotism, tribalism and professional misconduct, and they are contributing to the violent behavior. Apart from physical fitness, no attention is paid to their mental and emotional state. Police corruption has even led to larger systemic problems caused by an absence of checks and balances and fragile institutions hence making it harder to hold them accountable for their actions.
The police brutality, is however not only experienced in Kenya, rather it is common across the Africa and the world. In the Western Capitalist world, police brutality and racial profiling have been common occurrences for decades, and are an inseparable aspect of life. Under secular Capitalist system whose weapon is only torture and brutality the police and entire security apparatus is not for the protection of lives and properties of the citizens.
In Islam, torture is absolutely forbidden and any police officer found guilty of carrying out physical abuse or torture against any citizen, Muslim or non-Muslim, will be held accountable. It is only under the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate) based on the method of Prophethood, that will be soon established in Muslim countries, the police forces will be fully committed to maintain law and order hence protecting the lives and property of the citizens.
Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Kenya