It is not strange to hear that rogue cops lease guns to criminals going to commit robbery. Additionally, the robbers are taught how to defend themselves in case the robbery goes wrong. The officer will also be on hand to help if need be. At the end of it, the two parties get to share the loot.
Except that the would-be robber is a police informer seeking to expose a corrupt officer who colludes with thugs. That is something you would expect out of a movie script. But according to the Standard, that is the reality unraveling in the Nakumatt auditor murder story on how rogue our cops have become.
They are now not just illegally renting guns to thugs so that they can harm us. They have gone an extra mile to teach the villains how to defend themselves in case they find us prepared in the event of an attack.
If that is nothing to worry about, then maybe the case of Waiss Abdulaziz Mohammed should. The officer is suspected of supporting terrorist activities and is currently detained to allow the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) to complete investigations.
The officer, deployed at the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU), is suspected using social media to recruit his followers into Al Shabaab and even hinted at suicide bombing in a June 28 Facebook post. He posted that he would die soon and would kill a number of people in the process.
Kenya has in recent years and weeks experienced a spate of terror attacks. It is not only civilians who have suffered the brunts of these attacks as we’ve seen attacks on security officers too. Take into consideration the crucial mandate of protecting lives and property the NDMU have, and you will question whether the accused officer used his docket to leak sensitive information to terrorists.
One year later, the cops who tortured and murdered lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver are yet to be served justice. The case is still dragging in the courts.
There are numerous unreported cases of police officers working to defeat the purpose which they are meant to serve. Traffic police allowing killer unroadworthy vehicles onto our roads. Errant drivers going free after money changes hands. Cops demanding bribes before lodging a complaint. Cases of the victim becoming the suspect.
How many rape victims have preferred to suffer in silence than report cases to the police for fear of victimization? In 2013, a 16-year old girl was gang raped, beaten and thrown into a pit latrine in Busia. The officer on duty deemed that cutting grass was enough punishment for three of the six men who perpetrated the heinous act. Seemingly, civilians are on their own.
I am not disputing that there are good cops out there. The problem is that they are overshadowed and silenced by the bad ones. The good cops go silent so as to avoid victimization at their duty stations. Since we are in a man-eat-man society, the bad cops seem to enjoy protection from higher authorities as they fill their pockets with the loot.
How many times have Independent Police Oversight Authority, IPOA, been frustrated by the police service in their attempts to tame rogue officers. Recently, officers from Thika Police Station caused drama at Thika super highway when they tried to rescue their colleagues who had been arrested by EACC officials for collecting bribes.
The country, especially the major cities, is grappling with rising insecurity. Women and children are the most vulnerable and are easy targets. The State, to which we look up to for protection, is failing us in our hour of need. They either seem to be doing nothing or are taking too long to do whatever they are doing to handle rogue cops who make deals with criminals.
Perhaps that’s what inspired Hessy wa Dandora to start serving instant justice to suspected gang members. The killer cop has little patience for the rule of law. A bullet follows when a warning to abandon the gang falls on deaf ears. He thereafter uploads photos of his victims on Facebook as a warning to the others. Hessy has become famous for his acts. He enjoys widespread support from a public frustrated by how slow the wheels of justice seem to turn.
“Hessy ako tu sawa. Saa zingine unashtaki hawa jambazi na wanakutangulia ata kurudi mtaani. Wanajuana na polisi,” comments a Facebook user. (I support Hessy. Sometimes you lodge a report and the suspect is released sooner than you think. They collude with the police).
The truth of the matter is that we can’t have a Hessy in every corner of the country. In fact, we should not have any Hessy anywhere. Suspects have a right to fair judgment and prosecution. If, however, criminals didn’t have an upper hand over their victims in the dispensation of justice, then there would be no need for Hessy. We are headed a dangerous way and the police force has to reform to save us from tumultuous times ahead. The public trust in the forces erodes with each passing day and soon every man will be a law unto themselves.
The public itself should not be a distraction to the dispensation of justice. We should not protect criminals just because they are family or friends then cry foul when we are affected. The police force relies on us just as much as we rely on them.