Kenyans are divided on whether Eastleigh police shooting was justified

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The police decided to take matters into their own hands in a viral video making rounds on social media where a suspected gang member was shot dead in broad daylight. The video shows a man in a red shirt, the police officer, shooting someone several times before reloading the gun and taking his life with one final shot.

The Gaza gang has apparently been responsible for numerous criminal cases that range from murder, mugging to violent robberies done mostly at night. Due to the notorious track record of the gang, many people online felt that the brutal execution carried out by the police officer was justified.

However others took a different stance, considering laws and regulations that should be upheld, claiming that what the police officer did was unmerited and immoral.

Article 50 of the Constitution of Kenya states that every person has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair and public hearing before a court. Despite the fact that this right has been given to all people by the superior law of the land, this situation with Gaza isn’t the first time Kenyan police have decided to embark on extra-judicial killings.

Remember the Kawangware Seven, where seven taxi drivers from Kawangware were shot dead by the administration police? In 1996, the Kenya Human Rights Commission noted that there were at least two deaths a week due to extra-judicial killings. In 1997, the figure had risen to three per week and by 1998, it was two lives every three days.

Presently, a report by Amnesty International showed that Kenya has been ranked number one in Africa concerning cases of extra-judicial killings. By October 2016, a total of 122 murders had been reported in Kenya, out of 177 cases in Africa, with possibilities of the figures being even higher.

Coastal communities in particular bear the burden carried by police shootings and killings, with upto 81 people reported to be dead or lost back in 2012. Thirty one were possible extrajudicial killings, 24 were believed to be enforced disappearances, 22 were caused by brutal police force, while four deaths took place in the custody of the police.

The deafening silence of political heads on the matter also exposes a loophole in their claimed commitment to the Constitution. The fact that a Gaza member can be brutally murdered by a police officer in broad daylight with several on looking witnesses even taking videos and photos reveals an obvious fault in our society.

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