Kenya Initiates Investigation into Fatal Police Shooting of Protester

Kenya Initiates Investigation into Fatal Police Shooting of Protester1
Violent clashes between police and anti-tax protestors broke out in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday. Festo Lang/CNN

An extensive investigation into the shooting death of a protester during Thursday’s large-scale anti-tax protests in Nairobi has been initiated by Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). As the protests have escalated, this incident has sparked global indignation and placed police behavior under severe scrutiny.

Authorities have named the protester as Rex Masai. He was taking part in one of many demonstrations against a controversial finance plan that is now being reviewed by lawmakers. At one point during the demonstration, a police officer allegedly opened fire on Masai.

The police in Nairobi have been deploying tear gas and water cannons to disperse the peaceful demonstrators, especially in and around the city center. The measures used to control the masses have come under scrutiny due to the strong criticism directed towards this strategy.

On Friday, the IPOA announced that it had “documented the death of Mr. Rex Masai allegedly as a result of police shooting and several serious injuries suffered by other demonstrators, including police officers.” The gravity of the problem and the necessity of an open investigation are both emphasized by this remark.

A CNN crew was there on Thursday when they witnessed police use tear gas on demonstrators; one of its journalists was hurt by a canister. Over 200 individuals were apprehended by the police in Nairobi earlier this week, according to civil society organizations. Tensions between the public and the government have been exacerbated by these moves.

A team from the IPOA is currently in touch with Rex Masai’s family as part of its inquiry into the tragic shooting, which has already begun. There should be “continued restraint by the police” and everyone should “remain peaceful and to conduct themselves within the confines of the law,” according to the agency’s statement.

Important steps toward resolving complaints about police brutality and establishing responsibility have been taken by the IPOA through this investigation. People are following the government’s response to the continuing demonstrations and the probe with bated breath. In particular, the findings of this investigation into police brutality and the right to peaceful assembly would undoubtedly affect the dynamic between the Kenyan government and its inhabitants.

The police’s response and the IPOA’s conclusions will have a significant impact on Kenyan civil rights going forward as the protests go on and the budget bill makes its way through parliament. The response of the government is crucial in restoring public trust and keeping peace, since the desire for justice and accountability continues to be high.


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