February 12, 2020
Police Brutality News

Reprieve for Taita Taveta residents as DPP takes up police …

Reprieve for Taita Taveta residents as DPP takes up police …

– The residents claimed they were scared of reporting cases because they would often be victimised and bullied by the police

– They argued some of the police misused power in settling scores with citizens

– They also complained of land grabbing being rampant with the rich acquiring land without following due process

– The residents added that the land cases drag in court for many years and the alleged grabbers finally win the case

– The Kenya Wildlife Service was also pointed out for failing to own up compensation for residents who lost their loved ones to wild animals

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on January 27, received documented complaints from Voi residents following a public inquiry forum in Taita Taveta county.

Irregular and unlawful acquisition of land, police using excess force, and enforced disappearance of residents topped the list of complaints.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions received documented complaints from Voi residents following a public inquiry. Photo: Monica Wambugha
Source: Original

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According to one of the residents, David Ndau who lives in Sofia, Voi constituency, some of the police misused power in settling scores with citizens instead of maintaining law and order.

“There was a case of a policeman who was interested in a woman who was in a relationship with another man. He began threatening the man using his power,” said Ndau.

Ndau also complained of land grabbing being rampant in Taita Taveta were rich men acquired land and title deeds in some areas without following due process.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

Anne Karimi, a Resident Magistrate at Voi Law Courts, said that Kenyans need more knowledge about the criminal justice system. Photo: Monica Wambugha
Source: Original

He added that the land cases drag in court for many years where the alleged land grabbers finally win the case.

“When complainant’s loose case they have to appeal and the courts are located in Mombasa, yet they have no resources of travelling all the way to hear their case,” said Ndau.

Some of the cases said to still be in court include Daniel Mwakisingo’s from Maungu who lost his son Edward Mwakisingo in 2016 after he was bitten by a snake.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

David Okello, head of civil rights division in the Office of the ODPP said the aim of the event was to hear grievances from the public. Photo: Monica Wambugha
Source: Original

Since then he has been seeking compensation from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) but the lawyer representing the case is always nowhere to be found.

Another one was Maghuwa Crispin whose husband Ambrose Nyange was killed by an elephant in 2017.

She was promised that she will be compensated by KWS six months after her husband died.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

Maghuwa Crispin’s husband Ambrose Nyange was killed by an elephant in 2017. Photo: Monica Wambugha.
Source: Original

Despite these cases pending in court, the residents complained of how the KWS failed to attend the public inquiry to answer to the compensation claims of those who lost their lives.

“An 11-year old girl was killed by a lion in her home in Marungu in April 2019. But the KWS said they will not compensate them as they built their house inside a national park,” said a resident

“After signing the necessary forms to enable compensation, KWS has been sending me on a goose chase. Until now am not sure if I will ever be compensated,” he added.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

The coordinator of Voi Community Social Justice Centre Alexander Mbela hosted the event. Photo: Monica Wambugha.
Source: Original

David Okello, head of civil rights division in the Office of the ODPP said the aim of the event was to hear grievances from the public in an effort to address the issues as quickly as possible.

Okello said that the forum also brought the community close to the law enforcers following claims of intimidation and that the community could not report any crime to the police.

“We want to bridge that gap and tell the members of the public that it is their right to report cases to the police and if they don’t feel comfortable, they can report the matter to the office of the ODPP and they will take it up,” said Okello.

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The coordinator of Voi Community Social Justice Centre Alexander Mbela who hosted the event said they have been receiving complaints from the public.

“We have been receiving cases of cases delaying in court for a long time and also complaints of police brutality,” said Mbela.

“Therefore we saw the need to organize the public forum to shorten the gap between law enforcers and the civilians,” he added.

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Taita Taveta: Reprieve for residents as DPP takes up police brutality cases

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had received documented complaints from Voi residents. Photo: Monica Wambugha
Source: Original

Anne Karimi, a Resident Magistrate at Voi Law Courts, representing the Principal Magistrate Dorcas Wangeci, said that Kenyans need more knowledge about the criminal justice system.

“The criminal justice system starts with the nyumba kumi elder, to the assistant chief, to the chief, then to the police, and later to the ODPP,” said Karimi.

“Finally, it gets to the judiciary. Therefore the judiciary works in conjunction with the community,” added Karimi.

Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), National Police Service, Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), judiciary, were all present during the public inquiry.

Story by Monica Wambugha, TUKO Correspondent- Taita Taveta County

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Published at Tue, 11 Feb 2020 06:28:00 +0000

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