You’ve seen the viral video showing a plain cloth police office executing an alleged member of the notorious ‘Super Power’ gang in Eastleigh.
The execution was carried out in public, probably to send a chilling message to other criminals.
There has been a heated discussion with a surprisingly large number of people celebrating the act. Others see this as the height of impunity and a recorded case of the extra-judicial killings they’ve been talking about.
Despite what side you pick, it’s clear that this is a sign of lack of faith in the system, and a breakdown of all organs of justice.
In such a case, it’s only human to look for someone to blame.
So let’s analyse.
The judiciary are often blamed for letting criminals off the hook. This may be true in some instances, but we must understand that the courts work with evidence.
If the prosecutors present weak cases, the judge has no option but to dismiss. There is no room for personal emotions.
The other issue is delayed justice. This is a longstanding issue dating back years. Though corrections are being done, courts still face huge backlogs, and some cases take years to conclude. Sometimes, the accused are out on bail.
This may be an administration issue, but mere scheduling is not enough until the government provides more resources to the judiciary, in terms of man power, automation, court rooms, etc.
The root of system breakdowns is seen by many to be the police. After all, they are the ones who conduct shoddy investigations leading to guilty people being set free by the courts.
It’s very easy to point the fingers here, but remember, Kenya’s judiciary uses the same standards when convicting as used in the US, Europe and other more advanced nations. For instance, they will need proof beyond doubt that so and so committed the crime, and not mere hearsay.
So, we have a case of the judiciary using the same rule book as the US, UK, Germany and the rest, but a police which we doubt has simple capabilities like collecting fingerprints and DNA evidence from crime scenes.
Killings happen everywhere in Kenya everyday, and all we see is the police bundling bodies in the back of their land rovers.
The only time we see some real forensic evidence being collected is when there’s a high profile case, mostly in Nairobi.
Key pieces of evidence needed for the Judiciary to convict are not collected and analyzed.
Perhaps instead of blaming police for conducting ‘shoddy’ investigations, we should be blaming their lack of resources and skills.
It is the job of the government to support judiciary financially. Are they doing enough?
It is also the work of the government to equip and better train our law enforcement agencies. In this regard, there is definitely a lot of improvement needed.
But it goes down to the fundamental fact that we are a poor country. The same way police need resources, hospitals need machines, schools desks and roads maintenance. After what Moi did for 24 years, every sector needs funding urgently, and it’s impossible to abandon everything else and concentrate on a single thing. So we end up sharing the few we have with everybody.
Even if no money is stolen, it will still be long before our police service can match the demands of the judiciary.
How do young kids, some teenagers, end up taking up that criminal life? Is it a break down of moral values?
Some parents of murdered kids have been interviewed on TV admitting that indeed their son was a thug. How did this happen?
Don’t parents no longer watch the company their kids keep? Don’t parents no longer discipline their children for common mistakes?
Asiye funzwa na mamake hufunzwa na dunia… Have we forgotten that?
It’s sad when it reaches a point where people are celebrating the cold-blooded execution of a young boy, like we saw in Eastleigh. The solution is however not as straight forward as the human rights advocates would make us believe.
If the boys were arrested, they would probably have made bail, and then returned to their criminal lives. How many innocent people’s lives would then be put at risk?
From the stories I’ve been reading, these teenagers are not mature enough to understand that even crime has some dignity. They are ruthless and will easily murder for something as small as a mobile phone. Most of their victims don’t live to tell the tale.
On the other hand, if police are allowed to reign supreme and be judge jury and executioner, what will happen? We can’t pretend that police are saints. They have over the years conducted many self-serving killings.
There’s also the risk of mistaken identities. They might have society’s interest when conducting the executions, but what about when they get it wrong and kill an innocent life?
This is a very difficult topic. What do you think?