Police brutality at Nairobi varsity the worst form of cruelty
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Police brutality at Nairobi varsity the worst form of cruelty

Posted JANET OTIENO-PROSPER

on  Wednesday, October 4   2017 at  16:21

Reports from Kenya have it that several students were injured following the invasion of the University of Nairobi by police.

The students were brutalised inside their hostels and lecture rooms, right inside the university. There were also alleged cases of sexual assault on female students.

The university has since been closed indefinitely.

Earlier, some students had protested the arrest of their former leader, now a legislator, Paul Ongili famously known as Babu Owino. The police stormed into the campus after breaking up the students' demonstration.

The Independent Police Oversight Authority has launched investigations into the issue and it is hoped the people who meted such brutality on students would be brought to book.

Look, these students were flushed from the hostels, libraries and lecture halls; not that they were out protesting at the time.

Let me share with you something as an alumnus of the said university. When students take to the streets and engage police in running battles, they don’t usually return to the halls of residence, libraries or hostels. They actually go and loiter in the city centre until when the dust has settled; some altogether leave and go to visit relatives or friends. For those coming from Nairobi and its environs, they just go home.

The hostels

Those who usually remain behind on campus - in the hostels, the libraries or attend lectures, are usually regarded as traitors and cowards, too afraid of the police.

What am I saying here? I am saying that the students who were beaten or sexually assaulted fall in the latter category. Why would the state cut the education dreams of its children short, some of whose parents are so poor; they sold their land and animals to raise their fees to the university?

Most of the terrorised students were freshers, who were hardly a month old in the university, the only places they knew were the hostels, the lecture halls and the library. And the Kenyan security forces had no mercy for them.

The big question is; how does a government allow its officers to get inside the university and terrorise students? If the executive arm of the government does not condemn this in the strongest terms and deal with the officers involved, then next time they will go to churches and even hospitals.

You know certain people always intrigue me. How do you go about your business as usual after that? When you kill or maim someone or brutalise someone to death, do you then go back to your family and tell them you are back from work?

How do you face your children after killing other children? How do you face your wife and daughter after sexually assaulting others? How do you face your son and brothers after shooting dead their peers?

Your children

This worst form of cruelty seems to have been premeditated since no authorities condemned the attack even after it was reported. The horror images coming from the once peaceful Kenya are disturbing and it is even worse that these images are from one of the countries biggest and oldest learning institutions.

The children are the future generation and their quest and thirst for education should not be put off by a primitive desire to silence even the already meek citizens. What happened to the value of humanity in Kenya?

This time you might be quiet and do nothing because none of your children, siblings or relatives was at the university at the time of this police terror. It was the students at the receiving end and you are not concerned after all.

Next time they will come for you and no one will speak for you.

It is wrong to bury our heads in the sand, wishing the problem would go away. Let us stop laughing at people’s pain and condemn this uncalled for state brutality on the children of Kenya.

The particular officers who brutalised or sexually assaulted the students, should be brought to book.

Let us not allow the culture of impunity to undercut justice and accountability.

God bless Kenya and long live the beautiful nation.

Twitter: @JanetOtieno