Policing in Kenya during Covid-19
Between humanity and status-quoism
Keywords:policing culture, brutal policing, transformative constitution, Covid-19 containment measures, curfews, excessive force, rule of law
Kenya’s policing history has for the longest time been partisan to the ruling regime. This has created a culture of brutality and disdain among members of the Kenya Police, towards members of the public whom they ought to protect and serve. Although the National Police Service Standing Orders provide that police officers shall be committed to the welfare of the public and shall maintain the highest professional and ethical standards in providing service to members of the public, recent practices and especially events that followed the Covid-19 containment measures prove the contrary. While the law makers may have been well intentioned, brutality cases on the part of the police in enforcing containment measures were recorded in several instances leading to injuries and deaths among many Kenyans, not least of which was the death in custody of our classmate Emmanuel Mutura and his brother Benson Ndwiga in Kianjakoma, Embu. Thus, this article argues that while Kenya boasts of an egalitarian transformative constitution, the most crucial entity that maintains law and order has maintained a retrogressive, non-egalitarian policing culture. Further, it advances the argument that in the long term, the police have to be trained in an egalitarian manner in order to achieve the true purpose of the Constitution of Kenya (2010).