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EDITORIAL: Uhuru must act on executions and disappearances



FRIDAY BULLETIN—In a damning report, the state human rights watchdog indicted security agencies for their role in the extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances of citizens.

While affirming that the buck stops with the Head of State, the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR) report documented a series of murders and disappearances-of Muslim youth which it blamed on various state security agencies.

In a more shocking revelations, the state agency revealed that victims have been made subjected to discredited and internationally condemned torture methods borrowed from the US run Guantanamo concentration camp and Israel detention centrers such as water-boarding and sleep deprivations.

The agency went ahead to call on the government to take steps to end the macabre acts while observing that the President has an obligation to apologise to the victims.

Most of the victims of this state brutality were viewed as suspects in the so-called war on terror-a campaign which for more than a decade has been riddled with human rights violations and regrettably which appear to be on a perilous rise in the recent times.

In total contravention of the law, victims have been denied their basic rights, faced horrendous torture and the unlucky ones ended up being killed and their bodies dumped in unfamiliar places such as rivers and forests while others have vanished without trace after being seen for the last time in the hand of security agencies.

This is not the first time for the state to face accusations of security agencies being involved in flagrant human rights violations. In the aftermath of the rendition exercise where Kenyan citizens were hounded out of the country and illegally transferred to foreign lands, the judiciary and the legislature accused the executive failing to protect the rights of Kenyans and instead choosing to away their inalienable rights.

Muslim organizations and civil society groups have on many occasions also taken the government to task for looking the other way while security agencies turn themselves into accusers, prosecutor, jurors and executioners.

In December last year, the Pan Arab television channel Al Jazeera aired an exposure where for the first time, members of various security agencies confessed their role in the extermination of people alleged to be involved in terrorist activities.

Sadly, instead of taking measures to investigate this abuses and end the violations, the government only find it right to take solace in denials.

It had to take robust statements from the visiting United States President Barrack Obama during his recent visit to the country for President Uhuru Kenyatta to admit the government handling of the war on terror.

During his various engagements, Obama warned that the draconian approach was counterproductive to the efforts to contain terrorism and emphasized on the government to adopt an approach were its actions are not seen to deliberately violate the law while specifically targeting a section of its citizens.

Two months down the line, even after President Uhuru promised a change of strategy to focus on a softer approach of engaging with community and parents, it remains business as usual as more people continue to disappear and murdered with accusing fingers keep on pointing at security organs.

This country is governed by the rule of the law and it is a worrying and disturbing phenomenon when those who are supposed and expected to enforce the law choose to embrace horrid methods employed by criminals and terrorists becoming difficult to make a distinction between the two.

As many family continue to suffer, agonize and ponder over their loved ones who were exterminated by security agencies, many are now seeing the government through a prism of an oppressor rather than a protector as ought to be the case.

While it should be clear that those involved in criminal acts especially those involving the killing innocent people should face the full force of the law, at the same time there should never be any justification to resort to jungle justice.

As stated by the Commission, on this matter, the buck stops with none other than the president who it appears that he is the only one in position to put to an end this illegality and brutality.

Upon ascendancy to power, President Uhuru pledged to that the rule of the law will be enforced giving hope to the Muslim community that at long last justice and fairness will be the modus of operandi. But with the resurgence of the renditions and draconian polices such as the Operation Linda Nchi, their hopes continue to get dimmer.

It is high time that the President heard the cries and anguish of the terrorized victims of the terror war and rein in his boys to stop this horrendous human rights abuses which could risk tainting his leadership.
protect it from the machinations of the enemies of Islam.


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