To The News Editor, Press Release: Kwekwe Mwandaza Conviction: A Case Of Misuse Of Firearms
Following a report on the extrajudicial killing of Kwekwe Mwandaza that occurred on 22nd August 2014 in Kinango, Kwale County, IPOA commenced investigations on the 25th August 2014 to unravel the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting and more particularly to find out whether the Police Officers who shot and killed her were justified in the use of their firearms. The Police separately launched investigations into the matter and found no evidence of impropriety on the part of its officers and instead recommended an inquest be undertaken into the death.
However, IPOA did not agree with this and its investigations revealed that Kwekwe was killed by Kinango DCIO Veronica Gitahi and Constable Issah Mzee, who were in a team allegedly searching for criminals. Kwekwe was in a house together with her relatives when the police struck and shot her for allegedly confronting them with a machete.
The ODPP concurred with IPOA’s recommendation that the officers were culpable for murder and on 15th February 2016, the two police officers were sentenced to serve seven years each for manslaughter.
It does not seem to IPOA that the commanders in the National Police Service have taken steps to comprehend the strict provisions of the constitution and the National Police service Act regarding observance of human rights, use of firearms and lethal force. It behoves on the Police leadership to sensitize its members on the law, develop polices on these matters and above all put structures for continuous training and regular reviews of both the trainings and policies. The judgement in the Kwekwe case should provide lessons learnt and a basis for improvement by the police.
While IPOA appreciates the role of the Police in prevention of crime and maintenance of law and order, IPOA will continue to play its rightful role of holding the Police to account for its actions. In doing so, IPOA will continue to undertake its investigations in a professional manner observing the highest standards of integrity.
DENNIS DANSON OKETCH
HEAD, COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH