1,133 is not just a number

Justice for minors killed during poll chaos in Kenya

Baby Pendo and other minors killed during post-poll chaos in 2017 deserve justice

8 February 2018 - 15:02
By Never Again
Baby Samantha Pendo would have turned one today. Let that sink in. Instead of her family celebrating her first year on earth, they are today painfully reminded of how her life was brutally cut short during the spasms of violence that gripped Kisumu in late 2017 in connection to the presidential elections. 
According to a report released by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) titled "Mirage at Dusk: A Human Rights Account of The 2017 General Election”, baby Pendo was among 7 minors killed during the post-poll chaos: 
"Sadly, seven of the victims were minors; three girls and four boys. The youngest was a 6- months-old baby who succumbed to injuries in hospital after being clobbered at home while under the care of her mother. The other minors all aged between seven and eighteen years died from gunshot wounds."
Seven. Let that sink in too. It should shame us all that the conversation about the deaths of these innocent children has been moved to the back burner. The inquest into baby Pendo’s death is scheduled to start on the 16th of February in Kisumu. Hopefully, the inquest is not just a fudge to buy time in an attempt to dilute the public’s anger. Magistrate Beryl Omollo, who is leading the inquiry, is sure to be stonewalled by a famously uncooperative police force but she mustn’t be afraid to turn over rocks and kick in some doors if she has to. This inquest must lead to real accountability for the sake of baby Pendo and the other minors killed in violence they had nothing to do with. 
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), the body that provides civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya, must also investigate the deaths of Geoffrey Mutinda(7) and Steve George (9), two minors reportedly killed by stray bullets fired by police officers in Pipeline and Mathare estates as they played in the safety of their parents homes. IPOA recently chalked up a win with the successful conviction of Titus Musila, the trigger-happy Githurai police officer responsible for the death of suspect Kenneth Mwangi. 
By actively following up and investigating the deaths of the 7 minors and all the other Kenyans killed by police officers during the post-election violence, IPOA can prove to the public that Musila’s conviction wasn’t just an exception to the general rule that the Kenyan police force is rogue and a law unto itself. Kenya’s eyes are upon you IPOA. Do your duty.

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