Kisumu women demand justice for children killed in Azimio protests
A women’s lobby in Kisumu county yesterday called for action against police officers accused of violating human rights during protests staged by the Azimio La Umoja coalition against the high cost of living.
Under the Wamama Mashinani umbrella, the women drawn from informal settlements of Nyalenda, Manyatta, Obunga, Nyawita, Kondele, Nyamasaria and Bandani, criticized the police over their actions in handling the protests that led to loss lives and destruction of property.
They lamented that many families were suffering following the death or injury of their members.
Led by Claris Adongo of Nyalenda, Millicent Randiki (Bandani) and Mwatomu Husein (Nyamasaria), they appealed for justice to the victims of police brutality.
Adongo said police reaction during the demonstrations led to unnecessary loss of lives, injuries and destruction of property.
She accused the officers of breaking into homes and attacking residents, noting that women bore the brunt of the violence.
“We , the women of Kisumu, largely affected by the demonstrations protest police violence against our children and husbands. The police meted violence right inside our homes resulting in untold suffering, leaving our children dead, injured and others traumatized. Further, our businesses were plundered and our properties destroyed,” said Adongo.
She added: “The police brought violence from the streets to our homes. Our sons were dragged from their houses, beaten and later accused of demonstrating even when the evidence shows otherwise.”
According to her, the alleged police actions extended to innocent residents who were not part of the demonstrations.
“We were confronted by guns pointed at our heads, arrows ready to be released, teargas emptied in our houses where we sought shelter. Running out of the house because of the teargas was met with beatings. It did not matter that you were innocent and there were as many people hurt who were not protesters as there were those who protested,” she said.
Randiki said women expect relevant government agencies to take necessary action against police officers found culpable of breaking the law during the riots. She condemned the law enforcers for allegedly using excessive force on unarmed residents , noting that the constitution guarantees every citizen the freedom to picket and demonstrate.
“We have gone through many targeted police brutality, rape, and other human rights violations from 2007/2008, 2013 and 2017 where no action has been taken. This time round, the intention was visible in the action when they refused to come to our assistance as women,” Randiki said.