Only if I had a Camera…
I was moving down town Nairobi yesterday when I witnessed a man throwing a bottle at another.
I presumed he was a thug given the way he was dressed and the baggage he carried. Luckily, the bottle muddled and only crushed on the tarmac.
The mugger took off but the attacked ran after him got him. In the process, the bugger dropped his luggage; a suck full of bottles both plastic and glass.
“Had the bottle hit him, this guy would probably be dead by now,” I told my colleague.
The attacked was a civilian, a relatively fat and old man dressed in a Kaunda Suit.
He chased the aggressor in a manner that he was physically fitter than he looked. Ad when he got him, he boxed him hard while the mugger tried to protect his head without retaliating.
The next thing, the mugger was thrown in a back cage of a white car; the car body is walled with wire mesh -a mobile cell of sorts.
Still wondering where the civilian gets powers to cage another in his car, I realized a police man (In a blue Uniform) walking to the car with his baton, opened the door and used his baton to unrelentingly beat the bugger.
The poor man strived to shield himself from the beatings but in vain.
By now, I was still not sure whose car this was until I peeped through the open door and saw some Boys in Blue, and others plain clothed men.
Then as I walked past the car, I read ‘Security…’
Shortly, while I walked past another street I was caught in turmoil of vendors running with their items, and the same car speeding after them. Here, also some plain clothed officials were seeking to arrest them. It was chaotic.
I then came to understand that the detained man must have been one of the vendors; the white car was rounding up.
At the face of all this, I had the opportunity to compare Kenyan police to the Ugandan one where I hail.
First, in Uganda, I have (like I expect the case in here to be) the authority to for example round up vendors on the streets is in the hands of the Kampala city council Authority (the equivalent of Nairobi City council) and it is rare that much force is used.
So, the action of police against this man, reminded me of Kayihura’s boys (Uganda Police) and their behavior. The endless allegations that they are cruel during arrests.
I recalled the brutal detention of opposition fellow Rt. Col. Kiiza besigye, that rose public concern and of course the most recent indecent seizure of another opposition activist, Ingrid Turinawe.
These are some of the outstanding incidents where the police in Uganda was cited to have used force during arrests, also to mention, during the numerous public dispersions in times of riots.
Am not so conversant with the way the police in Kenya operates, but with what I saw yesterday, I am forced to believe that police here is not so different from that in Uganda and probably in many especially African countries.
But my understanding is that although Police has the obligation to maintain law and order, they should not be brutal in their operations, for example, there is a way you can arrest someone without necessarily molesting them, they should let the law discipline them.
Is Police trained to be brutal?