IG Koome must speak out on accident probe

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 06:38 | By
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a recent press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a recent press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print

Though Article 50(2) of the Constitution and other laws governing the trial of suspects emphasise the presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty, the same stipulates that every person must be held accountable for his or her offences.

Establishing the guilt or innocence of a person can only be done before a court of competent jurisdiction where the accused person is given an opportunity to give his or her side of the story.

We also have laws, including the Victim Protection Act, that provide for the protection, rights and welfare of the victims of offences.

The major steps in the criminal justice process include investigation leading to the arrest of a suspect, prosecution and sentencing by the courts.

Trials must begin and be concluded without unreasonable delay and for the police failure to initiate any of those processes is tantamount to denying both parties their rights.

The case of Spring Valley Police Station (reported in our yesterday’s edition) where officers seem reluctant to apprehend a driver who was involved in a serious accident on Lower Kabete Road on July 29, 2022 is a disturbing example of police negligence and inaction that exacerbates the pain of the victim’s family.

Police commanders, oversight bodies like the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) should strictly deal with such cases.

Officers must remember that they are criminally or otherwise liable for their actions or inactions.
Though ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is most apposite at the prosecution stage, failure by the police to arrest and arraign the responsible driver is the weakest link in the process.

From the face value of the case at the Spring Valley Police Station, observers retain the legitimacy to think that money may have changed hands. Corruption seems to have become the password for Kenyan traffic officers.

Among traffic officers countrywide, bribery is a means of survival which is entertained, condoned and aided by seniors.

Motorists pay bribes to circumvent traffic regulations, while the police maximise illicit incomes for personal and institutional gains.

But the buck stops with Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome who must shed light on at the conduct of his officers at the Spring Valley Police Station and tell Kenyans whether some matatu operators have been allowed to operate above the law. Justice must be done.

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