It is inconceivable that anyone would have investigated the activities of Mungiki and Sabaot Land Defence Force in a mere ten days. This is hardly enough time to investigate chicken theft.On his visit, Alston spent one hour with the Police, despite having been granted total access. It was apparent he did so merely to fulfil a mandatory requirement, rather than establish the truth. In fact, during the two 30-minute sessions at Police Headquarters, he complained he would be late for other appointments and had to leave. He did not try to visit any police stations and cannot now complain he was not assisted.
Alston provides little beyond wild allegations. It seems he was handed a written document by local activists to adopt as his own work. In his hurry to use plagiarised material, he failed to interrogate why civil society organisations used unqualified persons to conduct post mortem examinations in Mt Elgon.In his overzealousness to condemn those he was instructed to, he has published inexcusable falsehoods. His assertion there was no need to assemble evidence to apportion blame is an astonishing disregard for due process. According to him, the fact that any unproved allegation had been made is sufficient reason to condemn the Government without the need for further proof!
There is no precedent for such absurd reasoning. All reports by rapporteurs are made on the basis of information sufficient to require further investigation, not to sustain a conviction.
The report comes as ‘civil society’ organisations with links to Mungiki try to elicit public sympathy against efforts to restore law and order. Their diversionary tactic is to distract attention from the more than 5,000 Mungiki prosecuted, including the leader Maina Njenga, and the many defectors executed by this gang.Little or no effort was made to investigate each allegation or to obtain credible evidence. Given the resources available to organisations that have made these allegations, it is telling that none has sought to “bring the killers to book” by setting in motion any proceedings or, at the very least, lodging formal complaints.In summary, Alston suggests that he had three objectives: (a) to ascertain the types of unlawful killings; (b) to investigate whether those responsible are held to account; and (c) to propose measures to reduce incidence of killings and “impunity”.It is sad to note that:He chose to concentrate exclusively on accusations against the police. He did not find it necessary to ask about the systematic murder of citizens by Mungiki. Maybe he thought it was not important. He, however, appeals to the criminals to stop killing!b) Alston did not identify even one person responsible for specific killings sufficiently enough to sustain any prosecution;c) The ‘recommendations’ he makes were handed to him by activists keen to attract donor funding and, therefore, neither interested in truth nor accuracy.
There are a number of factors that militate against any attempt to take the report seriously. First, the sweeping findings and generalisations by the rapporteur are astonishing. Obsession with the police is evident in the three areas that he elected to study.
Alston provides not an iota of evidence on alleged killings by police. All he has are wild allegations by civil society groups. Torture allegations against police or military personnel are based on similar information. These, however, are outside Alston’s mandate and fall within the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, an established office in the same UN office. He also concentrates on post-election violence, which was not a case of extra-judicial killings. Police action in reaction to widespread politically-instigated violence was, arguably, also outside his mandate.
The report is a cheap anti-police statement that strains to ensure the result is skewed. Alston claims he interviewed many Government officials, but he falsified the list of people he met and his visits were brief and hurried. His report is fabricated and postulated entirely on the allegations of phantom witnesses supplemented by bias and prejudice.
In current investigations, it is clear that Mungiki hace changed tack and infiltrated the public opinion machinery. The activities of the group have escalated following the report’s release.While cases of human rights abuse cannot and will not be tolerated, it is essential that there be credibility in independent investigations. This report, sadly, does not have such credibility. It would have been useful to have a truly independent report with plausible evidence of wrongdoing. But our security shall not be battered by populist compilations with no investigative merit.
By Eric Kiraithe