Kenya: Police Boss Sent On Leave in Probe Over Lawyer's Death

21 October 2020

A police commander implicated in the assault of a Makueni-based lawyer, who later died while receiving treatment, has been sent on leave.

Makueni Ward Police Commander Francis Gichuhi is accused of attempting to shield Constable Nancy Njeri, who chopped off lawyer Onesmas Masaku's hand using a machete two weeks ago.

The lawyer died on Sunday while being treated at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Makueni County Police Commander Joseph Ole Napeiyan announced that he had initiated plans to dismiss Ms Njeri from the service. This came as crime busters raced against time to complete investigations into the matter before Friday when Ms Njeri is expected to be arraigned.

Following the incident, Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to press murder charges against Ms Njeri, Makueni Director of Criminal Investigations and Makueni county police commander who he accused of being accomplices of the police constable. The action on Mr Gichuhi came amid swelling tension as pockets of Makueni residents, who faulted the police, had threatened to disrupt Mashujaa Day celebrations in Wote town on Tuesday.

"There were fears that people who were unhappy with the recent conduct of police officers were planning to disrupt the celebrations. Therefore, there is no way we would have allowed the OCS to command the parade. We told him to go. Even if it means going on leave as we sort out the mess," a highly placed police source privy to the development told the Nation on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press.

Although the celebrations at Unoa grounds went on uninterrupted, speakers spoke against the police for allowing rouge elements to taint its image.

"Dismissing the suspect from police service and transferring the OCS is not enough. More action should be taken to ensure that rogue police officers and those shielding them are punished," Kathonzweni MCA Francis Mutungi told the rally amid cheers.

Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim assured the residents that plans were under way to censure all rogue police officers. "We shall rid the public service of anyone found to be of questionable character," he said.

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