Look what police reforms are….in kenya…
On Saturday night the 6th day of October 2018, my friend Dan Abel and I were coming from watching an English Premier League match (Manchester United vs Newcastle United) which ended at around 9:30pm. So with the match being interesting, we waited for the post match analysis from the ever fantastic punditry, which means we left Red Robin restaurant Moi Avenue a bit late (past 10 p.m).
We walked towards the bus stop (stage) and parted ways with Rodgers Mogaka, Charles Omondi and Kerry Indiazi at around Koja roundabout. We proceeded towards Tom Mboya monument and later Ronald Ngala street as we talked about this and that.
At the time we were parting ways, before we bid each other bye, five men approached where we stood and asked “mnafanya nini hapa?”, We asked whom they were for identification purposes. That was the last conversation we had with them, they descended on us, beat us up and handcuffed us, continued to kick us with blows too targeting the head.
There is a notorious one who seemed to be the leader who continued to assault and hurl insults at us, how we shall regret challenging the government, how we will never see him knocking our house doors requesting for help et al. He warned us to say one more word and see if he won’t finish us.
Until this time, we had not been told the reason for our arrest nor our crime, the officers had not identified themselves, our rights had not been declared upon arrest. They took us round CBD, continued to arrest more and releasing those who gave them bribes.
The took us near the former Kampala Coach offices along River road and had us sit on the floor waiting for the police vehicle to take us to police station. As we waited, they continued soliciting bribes and letting go those that fundraised from family and friends. We kept our cool, even after they asked us “tujitetee”.
Finally, we were hounded into the police vehicle and taken to Central Police Station. While at the Report desk, more people gave out bribes and let go. Till the moment we were going into the cells, none of us knows our crime. Not sure whether we have been booked, though they did write our names on a piece of paper NOT the official OB.
The cells are dark, without lighting, they are dirty and smelly. We are allowed to access the toilets, we have to share a bucket that is overflowing with human waste, the smell of uric acid is stinkingly unpleasant. People are puking in here, it is chilling cold in here, inhabitable for human beings.
And I sit in the Police Reforms Working Group. Those police reforms are just on paper, on practice, it is a FORCE not a SERVICE. As I write this, it is 06:37 a.m Sunday morning and we are in the cells. We don’t know our crime and what’s going on happen next.