Connect with us

Columns And Opinions

Our policing culture needs an overhaul



More by this Author

We have a decomposing state of the rule of law that Kenyans who don’t form part of the elite minority experience through suppression, silencing and even murder by the police. These cases are becoming rampant which makes me question what the National Police Service Commission (NPS) is doing to ensure accountability of officers, change in policing culture and protection of Kenyans.

The National Police Service is supposed to strive for the highest standards of professionalism and discipline among its members, prevent corruption and comply with constitutional standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms. But this is not always the case as poor Kenyans endure incidences like the recent cold-blooded murder of Daniel Mburu a bodaboda rider by an AP officer and the violent police force used to arrest Atty Owiso.

Let’s start with the shooting of Daniel Mburu, a young man who got into a scuffle with a police officer over his motorbike missing from where he had parked it. The rider had brought in a drowning girl he had rescued to the hospital. The reality of how a scuffle gets someone shot is not merely about a trigger being pulled. It’s about an orientation that allows for a trigger to be pulled especially on those Kenyans seen as disposable even at the slightest altercation. The policing orientation that some Kenyans are disposable is a disregard of constitutional law that declares every person equal hence granting them the right to equal protection.

For Kenyans to be equal, the law and those who safeguard it like the police should demonstrate this in their policing models. In fact, one role of the NPS is to train staff to the highest possible standards of competence and foster relationships with the broader society. But how does this happen when every incident where police officers deal with “ordinary” Kenyans results into a show of lawlessness and unnecessary ruthlessness? This is what happened to Atty Owiso after she ordered a police officer who had illegally entered her car-according to traffic laws- to get out. Owiso was doing the right thing but ended up being forcefully arrested in a spectacle that demonstrated the excessiveness of a brute police force.

It was a show of might and a message to any other Kenyan who dares to speak the truth or stand up for it. What then is the way forward when doing right is a crime?

You see policing is a noble cause that requires someone who chooses it to put their lives on the line to accord millions of others safety. But when people aren’t safe from those who should protect them, we have a bigger problem. Frustration from the injustice of rising extrajudicial killings of innocent Kenyans and vilification of those who stand up to ask the police to do right is, where we shall completely lose our way.


The policing culture needs an overhaul from the subjective application of its mandate and the NPS needs to be committed to leading this process by policing Kenyans as human beings whose lives matter despite their class, religion, age, gender, ethnic or social origin differences. We should thus focus on dismantling the existing discrimination Anything else is injustice.

Source link