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The Case for the Disbandment of the Kenya Police


In the last 48 hours there has been outrage about police brutality in Kenya. The netzens have expressed their anger online particularly on Twitter under the #JusticeForVaite and yet others have staged low-level protests (that is largely what they have always been) in Nairobi. This was triggered by a homeless elderly man shot and killed by the police in Nairobi because he was found outside during curfew time. We do know that more that 20 Kenyans have been killed and/or died in the hands of the police since the curfew was imposed some six weeks ago. A lot of Kenyans are outraged by police brutality especially as they use too much, obviously unnecessary, force to enforce the Covid-19 pandemic related measures, including the nationwide curfew. Now. Police brutality in this country is as old as Methuselah. One of the reasons it is rampant is because of the very nature of the police force. Looking back, one can appreciate the fact that the police, generally understood, is a strange concept to us. Second, and most importantly, the police force was a colonial tool for intimidation, harassment, domination and control. The reason the British established the police in Kenya was not to protect the people and their property. And even if that were to be the case, you an ordinary Kenyan did not qualify as a person. Of course, to Colonial Britain, blacks were not really people. So, therefore, you cannot imagine them creating a police force to protect you; some non-people. The notion, therefore, that somehow the police are there to protect you is misplaced. Let’s learn to vacate it. It is a lie. The police exist to protect the political elites and their interests. And we know that our political elites inherited and left the British system intact for their own interests. We know for sure that our so-called independence is nothing short of a slow and painful process through which the white colonizer was replaced by a black colonizer. That is why Emperor Kenyatta II aka Uhuru Kenyatta is no different from Malcolm MacDonald, the last colonial governor. And that is why to Uhuru and his crony Capitalists, our lives (we the ordinary Kenyans) do not matter. Remember, he commended the police for work well done after they brutalized and even killed scores of Kenyans in the last general election?

In Kenya as far as the inside is protected the outside is inconsequential. As a result, we have an overprotected inside and unprotected outside. That is why the Kenyan political elites are some of the heavily protected characters around here and globally. The police exist for “bwana mkubwa” that is why they quickly freeze and/or salute at the sight of politicians. Otherwise they are trained and deployed to control, intimidate, dominance, harass and oppress the masses. That is exactly what the British created the police force for and that is exactly why all Kenya’s rulers including Uhuru and his father have maintained the police force in its current and enduring shape and form. Nothing else.

Now. We have two options in dealing with the police menace in this country. The first is radical (I am radical, of course) and is the most desirable. Disband the Kenya police and replace it with nothing. Don’t argue with me and don’t start talking about how anarchy and lawlessness will set it. We have death and destruction with the police, we are better with lawlessness and anarchy without the police if that is what their absence will mean. Two. Overhaul the whole police force (don’t tell me they are a service. They are not) and (re)create it a new, with completely different philosophy, systems, structures and human beings. This latter is difficult. We have been talking about police reform since early 90s and we appeared to appear to be serious about it between 2010-13 and then we went back to business as usual. Reforming the police is equally difficult because they themselves have actually totally and completely refused to be reformed (because they love being feared than loved) and politicians are happy with them that way because they are partners in crime.

The Case for the Disbandment of the Kenya Police The Case for the Disbandment of the Kenya Police Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on June 06, 2020 Rating: 5

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