Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) wish to strongly condemn the irresponsible and careless utterances by the Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa yesterday. It was shocking to hear him direct the police service to shoot and kill alleged criminals. To make it worse the remarks were said when the situation at the Coast Region is tense after the attack of the Joy in Christ church in Likoni on Sunday 23rd of March 2014. The remarks also confirm our report that was launched on 14th March 2014 “We’re Tired of Taking you to Court” by the ATPU police at Castle Royal Hotel on 14th March 2014.
Article 26 of the Constitution of Kenya guarantees every Kenyan the right to life. Article 29 further guarantees freedom and security of the person. These rights are in alienable and cannot be violated simply by failure of the police to carry out meaningful investigations and prosecute criminals. We expect that the security apparatus will immediately apprehend and present in court the principal suspects in this awful attack on innocent citizens. However, we wish to express our deepest concern about the police’s ability or willingness to professionally investigate and guarantee the personal security of all of the residents of Mombasa County.
Last week incident whereby a car assembled with bombs and a huge arsenal of weapons lay undiscovered for five days at police headquarters raises many questions and doubts about the police’s competency and thoroughness in ensuring security for citizens. There have been many incidents including the Masjid Musa invasion that suggest that the police are out of touch with security information and apply wrong tactics in dealing with extremism.
They have consistently abandoned the rule of law and in the process polarized the situation even more. They have replaced the FORCE OF LAW with the LAW OF FORCE most recently with the dangerous instructions from county commissioner Nelson Marwa that police should kill on sight suspects. This is not only illegal but irresponsible and will lead to further unnecessary deaths and an increase of tension.
Leaders must be fully aware at all times that what they say must be conscientious and responsible. Making public utterances that could lead to further violations of people’s fundamental rights and freedoms is tantamount to committing those violations by themselves. Nelson Marwa should carry the cross, liability and guilt for any killing which may occur due to the overzealousness of police to shoot and kill suspects. At the Coast we already have a dire situation of extra judicial killings.
The only answer to violence is not counter violence but intelligent investigations and gaining the trust of the community to provide leaks and information about who is behind these terrible crimes. If the security behaves just like those they brand as terrorists then our city will be at war and no one of us will be safe.
As human right organizations we demand that Nelson Marwa withdraw his remarks and apologize to Kenyans. Kenya is not a banana or a police state and we cannot allow ourselves to return to the dark days of impunity and massacres. We call on all the responsible agencies including the President, IPOA and Constitutional Commissions to come out boldly and act on these utterances. We equally call on Kenyans to speak out against bad leaders who care less for their rights, safety and security. The time to defend our rights is now. Everyone must be held individually accountable.
Rahma Gulam Abbas
Deputy Executive Director