The latest debate on ‘shoot to kill’ orders speaks of a police force that is overwhelmed by criminals and is resorting to extreme measures. However, our efforts to enhance security must be within the rule of law. The rights of all individuals Kenyans as enshrined in our constitution must be respected.
We know that our security officers face many challenges even as they put their lives at risk in order to protect us. From being outmatched by gangsters on equipment and cars to a judicial system that often lets criminals go scot free, we have failed our officers who often become the targets of the criminals.
In these circumstances, I often feel that we are asking too much of them.
Nonetheless, a shoot to kill policy will not be the solution to our security problems. Addressing the problems of insecurity in Kenya needs a more holistic approach; we need to review the entire criminal justice system and improve the general welfare of our security personnel and their families.
We owe them much for the sacrifices they make for us and our country. We need to house them better and look after their welfare better. It is imperative to equip them better. For instance, forensic laboratories will facilitate more efficient investigation of crimes so that criminals pay for their crimes. We must also provide them with efficient vehicles and fuel them so that they can pursue criminals and conduct patrols day and night to deter crime. After all, it has happened before when each of Nairobi’s eight districts had sufficient cars.
As I have emphasized before, security is paramount for the survival and health of any state. We need to get our priorities right because without security, we can’t attract the much needed local and foreign investments to grow our economy, feed our people and create jobs for our youth.
Extra judicial killings only serve to erode the integrity of the state. Let’s free our minds and seek lasting solutions.
By Peter Kenneth