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Civil societies seek justice for post election violence victims

A group of civil society organizations in Kisumu has initiated the process of suing the government over atrocities
committed by security forces deployed in Nyanza region to quell the 2017 post election protests.

The  Kondele  Community Social Justice Centre, Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri), Women Concern Centre, Transform Empowerment  for Action Initiative (TEAM) and Kisumu City Residents Voice are profiling statements from victims to build up the case.

This is the second round  o f profiling the cases in the region that was worst hit by post election protests and violence following the disputed 2017 presidential elections.

The  initiative targets to compel the government  to  own  up to the lives lost in the hands of security officers who were deployed  in  the  area  and press for compensation.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday during the launch of the exercise at Kondele Community Social Justice Center, Muhuri  Rapid Response Officer, Francis Auma said the suit shall target individual police officers accused of meting out violence on the victims.

He  accused the officers of using excessive force and live bullets on innocent citizens who were expressing their
dissatisfaction on the manner in which the elections were handled.

Boniface Akach, the founder of Kondele Community Social Justice Centre said that it was unfortunate that a huge number of  victims in the region who suffered as a result of the post- election skirmishes were yet to get justice.

Akach said that many PEV victims still walk with bullet wounds in their bodies while others who lost their property are  yet to be compensated.

“We ask the victims to turn up in large numbers and record statements with us. They are expected to provide copies of  medical records, OB numbers, P3 forms and any evidence in their possession,” he said.

A somber mood engulfed the Kondele Community Social Justice Centre as one victim after the other recounted their ordeal in the hands of security officers.

The exercise ends on 21st April 2019 after which the matter shall be taken over by a team of lawyers who have promised to  prosecute the case on probono basis.

Kondele area, Manyatta, Obunga and Nyalenda are among the areas that were worst by the post election skirmishes where lives were lost.

The incident that captured the attention of the whole world is the killing of baby Pendo after armed police officers broke into the parent’s house at Nyalenda slums.

On February 14th 2019, an inquest into the death of the infant indicted five police commanders for overseeing brutality  and subsequent killing of Pendo.

They are Titus Yoma, former Kisumu County Police Commander, Christopher Mutune, former Kisumu Central OCPD, Bernard Koima,  former area Deputy AP Commander, Linah Kosgey, the then Nyalenda OCS and John Thiringi, the OCS for Kisumu Central at that time.

The Kisumu Senior Resident Magistrate (SRM), Beryl Omollo ruled that there was sufficient evidence pointing to culpability of members of the national Police Service in the death of the baby.

The civil society organizations picked cue from the ruling and in their own words are set for a gruesome battle with the government in search for justice for the victims.

By  Chris  Mahandara

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