CS Alfred Mutua castigates UN over allegations of police brutality
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua has castigated the Office of the United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) for accusing the Kenyan police of brutalising protestors.
In a statement on Wednesday, July 19, 2022, Mutua accused the UN agency of issuing inaccurate statistics concerning the number of people who have died during protests.
"It is unfortunate that on 14th July 2023, the Spokesperson of the Office of the United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) Geneva issued a media statement on protests in some parts of Kenya, in which he alleged ‘widespread violence’ and ‘unnecessary or disproportionate use of force’. He further alleged that 23 people have been killed and dozens injured in the demonstrations," Mutua stated.
According to Mutua, the statement by OHCHR seemed to support the opposition which has called for countrywide demonstrations to protest the high cost of living among other issues.
"This statement was not only inaccurate but misleading and appeared to have been written in support of a propaganda campaign by people opposed to the democratic will of the people," he added.
"The Ministry has protested to the office of the Spokesperson on his unsubstantiated statement. We will be engaging through appropriate channels to ensure that the international community is not sucked into conspiracies that are aimed at destabilising our nation."
Mutua has termed the ongoing protests as violent actions by a few paid goons who have been politically instigated by the opposition.
"These violent demonstrators have attacked innocent members of the public, looted and destroyed private property, attacked and injured police officers who were on duty to ensure law and order. Why is the UN Human Right Spokesperson blind to all these? Is that office fallen prey to propaganda and being used to lay ground for a smear campaign?" he added.
On July 14, the UN expressed concerns over police brutality meted on demonstrators during protests organised by the opposition.
In a statement, the UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence accused the government of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, including the use of firearms by police.
"Reports say up to 23 people have been killed and dozens injured in the demonstrations in the past week. We call for prompt, thorough, independent and transparent investigations into the deaths and injuries. Those responsible must be held to account. Effective measures to prevent further deaths and injuries must be adopted," Laurence stated.
UN also called on the authorities to ensure the right to peaceful assembly as guaranteed by the Kenyan Constitution and international human rights law.