Kenya: Police Officers Leading Perpetrators of Violence - Study

Protestors take part in Saba Saba demonstrations along Muindi Mbingu Street, Nairobi on July 7, 2020.
26 August 2020

Nearly half of Kenyans have said police violence is the biggest human rights problem the country is facing.

A recent survey released by Infotrak, a research consulting firm, shows that 49 percent of Kenyans rated police brutality as the leading human rights violation.

The poll, which was jointly commissioned by the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network, Katiba Institute, International Commission of Jurists - Kenya Section, Haki Jamii, Haki Africa, Federation of International Women Lawyers, Centre for Rights Education and Awareness and Amnesty International, sought to study Kenyans understanding and perception of the current Constitution.

Police officers emerged as the leading perpetrators of violence at 68 percent followed by judges at 21 percent and politicians at 17 percent in the poll that interviewed 1,500 people across 24 counties with a response rate of 97 percent and a 2.53 percent margin of error.

The results show that central and Nairobi regions are the worst affected by police brutality.

Interestingly, only 36 percent of Kenyans are willing to take action when faced with human rights abuses.

"33 percent will report to the police while 27 percent will publicly demonstrate against violators," noted the report.

In terms of regions, the poll noted that people living in eastern Kenya are more likely to do nothing when their rights are violated compared to their counterparts in north eastern and western regions who are likely to go to the police.

However, people in central Kenya and the rift valley are likely to demonstrate against perpetrators.

"Sexual and gender based violence and cases of domestic violence were stated as the most reported violations to the police," the report said.

60 percent of Kenyans would however prefer stricter enforcement of the bill of rights, arrest and detention guidelines.

"The call for stricter enforcement of the Bill of Rights is loudest in north eastern at 67 percent and Nyanza at 66 percent. In the coast region, five out of 10 persons want firmer enforcement of the rights of the rights of arrested persons," added the report.

To curb increased violations of human rights, the results showed that Kenyans want civil society groups, EACC, IPOA and other commissions in the administrative of justice sector strengthened to enhance the implementation of the bill of rights.

60 percent of the respondents said the needed changes can be implemented through proper enforcement of the constitution as opposed to making amendments.

"Support for full implementation of the Constitution is highest in eastern region at 68 percent, western at 67 percent, central 64 percent and Nyanza 64 percent while support for amendment is highest in coast at 54 percent and north eastern 51 percent."

Nearly half of those calling for the amendment of the Constitution are concerned with the challenges of realising the set laws on leadership integrity and devolution.

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