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‘Retract or face l**********n’ – KMPDU, pressure groups w*rn Police IG Koome over remarks against doctors

Sunday, April 14th, 2024 14:59 | By
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday. PHOTO/Samuel Kariuki

The Kenya Human Rights Commission and other groups have threatened to take legal action against Police Inspector General Japhet Koome following remarks against the striking doctors.

Koome said the doctors have become a nuisance adding that the striking medics have also disturbed the public, especially on highways, and that the picketing is carried out contrary to provisions by the constitution.

Pressure groups that include, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Katiba Institute (KI), The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA), Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya), Africa Centre for Open Governance (AFRICOG), Tribeless Youth, and Siasa Place have joined Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) to condemn Koome's remarks.

The grouos have laid down demands for Koome, including an apology, and failure to so by 6:00 pm will leave them with no choice but to start prosecution of the police boss.

"We, along with other CSOs, have set a deadline of 6 PM EAT today for Inspector-General of Police, Japhet Koome, to retract his statement cancelling medics' right to strike and protest. We demand an apology for the violent attacks against KMPDU's Davji Atela. Failure to comply will result in legal action against him, not the Service. Koome, the choice is yours.

"We have seen your press statement today in which you claim to cancel the medics' right to strike and to picket peacefully and unarmed. We must clarify, sir, that you confer neither tight," the groups said in a statement.

The Human Rights Commission and their fellow CSOs further argued that Koome has no power to limit the citizens' rights to picket or demonstrate.

"No constitutional article conditions the right to strike or to picket on a notice given to you. Nor can you limit anyone's rights outside of Article 24 of the Constitution. Our clients, however, consider that you have suspended Articles 37 and 41 of the Constitution.

"You cannot do that. You are under; not above, the Constitution," it added.

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah (carrying megaphone speaker) leading medics' industrial action in the streets.
KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah (carrying megaphone speaker) leading doctors' industrial action in the streets. PHOTOS/X (@kmpdu)

Apart from offering an apology and retraction of his statement, the pressure groups want an apology following the attack of Davji Atela, the KMPDU secretary general,  on February 27, 2024.

'If you disregard our demand by the specified time, we will initiate court proceedings against you. Based on the doctrine of command responsibility, we will seek orders holding you personally liable for harm caused by the police to the striking and picketing medics.

"We will also seek damages against you for the attack on Atela.  We trust that you understand the gravity of the situation," the statement concluded.

The doctors have been striking since March 14 with talks with the government failing to yield any positive outcome.

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