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EJE Campaign Elections Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Police Brutality

The Untold Terror of Police Violence during Maandamano

The protests that began on March 20th this year left behind a trail of terror. But most of the damage and loss experienced in the informal settlements has not been fully accounted for. The reasons for under-reporting are that most of the victims fear threats from authorities: being arrested, forcefully disappeared or killed. Also, they know that it will be a long painful road to justice — if they ever get it.

At MSJC we have been working to document these violences since the protests began in March. In a brief report we highlight some of the cases we have been following up on since early this year. These include the death of a two month old and a 13 year old: from tear gas and police bullets respectively.

None of these protests were witnessed in the leafy suburbs where the selfish politicians from both divides reside. None of their children lay in the cold slabs of the morgue with poor parents unable to give them decent burials. Our communities continue to be the collateral of their selfishness, but we won’t stop demanding and working towards justice.

Here is a link to the report:

Below are some cases we are following up on:

Documentation

NameNature of Case
Victor Juma, 24Arrested while confronting the police who threw teargas into his house, which affected his 2 year old daughter who fainted
Jeremiah Mwengi, 13Shot in the back of the head and died while being taken to Kenyatta hospital
Godwin Omondi Omwandi, 40Shot in the leg during the protests
Kevin Omondi, 16Shot in his private parts
Nijer Oduor, 10Three fingers chopped off by an unknown object thrown by the police
Caleb Noah, 31Shot in the leg from behind while going to pick his child from school
Loise Akinyi, 45Bullet scratch on left arm
Isaac Odhiambo, 19Hit and wounded on the head by a teargas canister 
1)Cornel Fuka, 72)Paul Mathius, 63)Sarah Fridah, 104)Fabrigas Zami, 2 monthsA tear gas canister was thrown inside the house where their parents had hid them for safety. The tear gas choked and burned them.
Francis Oponde, 34Injured on both legs by a tear gas canister
Annette Achewa, 14Was shot in the back of her shoulder
Isaac Adhiambo, 19Was cut deeply on the head by a tear gas canister 
Valentine Wairimu, 2 monthsShe was affected when tear gas was thrown on the roof of their house; she became unconscious. Valentine
died at Brother Andre hospital while receiving first aid.
Alfred Odongo Obura (40) and four othersThey are all accused of stealing gas cylinders from Shell Petrol Station on Juja Road. They are at Industrial Area Prison
since they didn’t have the 400k bond
requested by the court. The hearing is
in October.
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EJE Campaign Police Brutality Solidarity

ODPP visit to highlight the profiling of Mathare youth

The killing of young people in Mathare and the normalization of this injustice is what sparked the emergence of MSJC. For the last nine years, MSJC has campaigned against extrajudicial killings and the cleansing of young people in informal settlements.

First it is arbitrary arrest, followed by extortion, enforced disappearance and the final stage is death. This has been the fate of hundreds of men in Mathare. Our Who is Next report documents over 800 killings by police in Kenya from 2013 – 2016.

Our campaign has been successful in ending the normalization of EJEs in Mathare. But the killings have reduced, not ended. The police have changed tactic and they now profile young people as criminals on Facebook and then they later kill them. They then parade their dead bodies on Facebook like trophies. A very colonial practice.

See here a screenshot from the vigilante police group: “Nairobi Crime Free.”

On the evening of 23rd May 2023, a notorious Facebook page with the name ‘NAIROBI CRIME FREE’ made a post threatening seven known young people from Mathare 3C. See above. The post is made through one account believed to belong to the page’s admin, known as Saigonpunisher James. The post was directed to warn the group of seven, who are members of Vision Bearers Youth Group.

Vision Bearers Youth Group is a self-help group in Mathare 3C area that was formed in 2017 to rehabilitate youths who had reformed from the difficult life of crime and violence in Mathare. The group’s main programs are acrobatics and traditional dance, garbage collection, food programs for kids and urban farming for food security where they work closely with the MSJC ecological justice campaign. Vision Bearers have 18 members, both men and women, and their future plan is to have a piece of land that they can use for ecological farming and to have a small community library.

Last week there were politically instigated skirmishes in Mathare, and almost 50 houses were burnt, and up to ten people were injured. It is alleged that the violence started because of a stolen boda boda from Number Ten area, but politicians and the police took advantage to fuel the violence that was going on. It is during this crisis that Saigonpunisher James, of the vigilante NAIROBI CRIME FREE Facebook group, profiled and threatened the young men from Vision Bearers Youth Group, saying that they were thugs who are terrorizing Mathare residents. These assertions were to mislead the public and to justify the premeditated murder of these young people.

To fight this police impunity, on Friday May 26 2023, MSJC, together with Vision Bearers Youth Group and Haki Africa, hosted and presented a petition to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). This petition, available below, focuses on the lack of response by security agencies in addressing reports of delays in the administration of justice, resulting from incidences of ethnic skirmishes, profiling of youths, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, drug abuse and crime in Mathare. The right to life is absolute and it is our right to live with dignity even as we strive for social justice in Mathare.

Our collective petition gave the following recommendations to the ODPP:

  1. Map and order the Inspector General of Police to investigate the faces behind pseudo social media accounts allegedly being used to profile young people as a strategy for preparing the ground for their possible execution and/or enforced disappearance;
  2. Order for the investigations of all cases petitioned during this forum to determine any incidences of culpability of any member of the criminal justice system with a view to instituting legal action against those found responsible for compromising the criminal justice system;
  3. Investigate alleged involvement of political leaders, local elders and security agencies who are responsible for inciting the youth to get involved in conflicts and insecurity, including use of ethnicity as a card for polarization and incitement;   
  4. Investigate allegations of failure by authorities to address the problem of hard drugs trafficking and use, which the community considers as a factor which influences youth involvement in crime;
  5. Apply your experience in collaborating with the CSOs fraternity to propose mechanisms for building and sustaining trust between communities and grassroots human rights defenders on one hand and security agencies and other criminal justice actors on the other hand, hence providing a space for effective use of community-led intelligence as a tool for fighting crime in Mathare; 
  6. Criminal justice actors in Mathare should agree on the formation of community peace and security committees with representatives from local communities, CSOs and government representatives to work together to fight crime as well as promote community cohesion; 
  7. Involve more youths and women in peace and security initiatives including those who are reforming from crime since they can be effective peace and security champions; 

We thank HAKI Africa and Noordin Haji of the ODPP for making the time to visit our community. We hope together we will prioritise the right to life, dignity and justice struggles of all of whom are under threat of police and state impunity.

The full petition is available here:

Pictures of the visit are below:

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EJE Campaign Police Brutality

Police Use of Lethal Force – Report

MSJC was part of a collaborative study on the use of lethal force by the police. The purpose of the study was “to analyse the use of force by the police in Kenya” in 2021.

This important study brings together the work of organisations including the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), MSJC and Laboratorio de Analise de Violencia.

The critical findings and recommendations in the report are accessible through this link:

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Police Brutality

Charge Killer-Cop Rashid!

After many years of community appeals, and the brave work of activists, killer-cop Rashid is scheduled to face his day in court, since the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) have accepted IPOA’s investigations about his role in the killing of two youth in Pangani — killings that were filmed and were broadcast across the nation five years ago in 2017.

We are here to say, as we have been documenting since 2016, that killer-cop Rashid has killed many more of our brothers, some of them as young as 12 years. We document and keep documenting. For those defending him, and as he continues to protest his innocence, please see here a list of 43 young people killed by Rashid in Mathare and more in our 2017 report: Who is Next.

This list was compiled by Mothers of Victims and Survivors in Mathare, whose children have also been killed by police bullets.

We will not be silent. We will be in court to watch the prosecution of Rashid. And we will keep fighting for our children.

NAMEDATEAGEPLACE EXECUTED 
1.Christopher Maina21/02/201725yrsMlango kubwa
2.Clinton Kioko16/06/201718yrs 
3.Peter Gachichi Gitau01/01/201720yrsMlango Kubwa
4.Kelvin Gitau14/04/201925yrsEastleigh
5.Paul Munyoki Monthe31/12/201719yrsMlango Kubwa
6.Dennis Mugambi07/12/201618yrs 
7.Mbatia 30/11/2016  
8.Saidi 18/04/201618yrs 
9.Nicholas Maina Gitau20/05/2018  
10.Francis Karani8/04/2017 Mlango Kubwa
11.Papa   Mlango Kubwa
12.Josh   Mlango Kubwa
13.Santos   Mlango Kubwa
14.Tobias 5/05/202017yrsBH
15.Jarred Nyausi1/03/2021 Mlango Kubwa
16.Abdul 17/05/202119yrs 
17.Marcus Irungu1/03/202112yrsMathare 3c
18.Samuel Ngure and 2 others24/08/2019 Mlango Kubwa
19.Emmanuel Chaku20/05/202127yrsMlango Kubwa
20.Brian  17yrsWhite Castle
21.Peter   White Castle
22.Ian Mutiso9/08/202124yrsMlango Kubwa
23.Francis Ondego 27yrs 
24.Fadhili Mohammed 22yrs 
25.Pato  21yrs 
26.Calvin Ochieng 22yrs 
27.Maurice Odhiambo 23yrs 
28.Mavine Ochieng  18yrs 
29.Kelvin Omondi  Mathare 4A
30.Alex Mwangi09/08/201919yrsMathare 3C
31.Cosmos Muteithia25/12/201722yrsJuja Road
32.Joseph Kahara27/05/201718yrsMlango Kubwa
33.John Kibe29/04/2021 Mlango Kubwa
34.Joseph Mbuthia Kamau 28/01/2018 Mlango Kubwa
35.Oredo  20yrsBH
36.Peter Maina7/05/201821yrsMlango Kubwa
37.Benson Karindo17/04/201921yrsMlango Kubwa
38.Charles Njogu23/01/2010  
39.2 unknown9/08/2021 Amana petrol Station
40. Amos Kangara11/10/202019yrsPangani
41.Tobias Omondi29/05/202033yrsEastleigh
42.George Odhiambo29/05/2020  
43.Unknown 15/8/2021 Kambi Safi

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network

Posters on the ban of non-uniformed police & Probox cars

On October 19, 2021, the network of Mothers of Victims and Survivors in Mathare decided to put up posters around Mlango Kubwa, which informed our community about the official announcement that all police need to be uniformed when making arrests and cannot use unmarked and unofficial cars, like Proboxes, when patrolling.

Proboxes have long been the official vehicle for killer police officers in Mathare and other poor spaces.

The goal of sharing these posters was to spread the news on the ban of the Probox to the members of the community who were not aware. Many members of the community have normalized these types of arrests done by the police.

More specifically, Mlango Kubwa has become a hotspot for police to arrest and harass youth and unfortunately these encounters often result in death or disappearances.

By putting these posters in sheng around Mathare, young members of the Network continue to work to protect and defend their community.

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Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Police Brutality Social Justice Centres

Launch of The Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Report

Saturday 20th of February marked the launch of the Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Report. The launch coincided with World Social Justice Day. Members of the Network convened at the Orbit Hall, Mathare. The Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network started in late 2017. It was formed for the purposes of documenting many cases of mainly extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, police brutality, and other inhumanities by the police.

The day was marked by talks and discussions by members of MSJC and community members. People joined in solidarity to grieve over those they have lost to police brutality and charted ways forward for accountability and justice. The report can be read and downloaded here.

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EJE Campaign Police Brutality Social Justice Centres Working Group Solidarity

Mathare Social Justice Centre strongly condemns the “visit” of known killer cop Rashid and two police officers to our centre on June 30, 2020

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

On Tuesday, June 30 at 11 am, Rashid, the known killer policeman from Pangani police station came to Mathare Social Justice Centre with two of his colleagues; Rashid and one of the other policemen were in civilian clothing and the other police officer was in a full blue suit.

After introducing themselves, they said they had come to “lodge a complaint” against a person called “Ali” who had supposedly been discrediting Rashid on social media. Because of this they demanded to see the leadership of the organization. Jennifer, our administrative officer, and Lucy Wambui, an MSJC human rights monitor, were in the office, and said they did not know Ali. It is important to note that Lucy Wambui’s husband, Christopher “Maich” Maina, was killed by Rashid in 2017. A witness to Maich’s killing was also killed by Rashid in 2018.

After saying they did not know Ali, thereafter Rashid said that he knows that many people come to MSJC to complain about him, and he wants to speak with our leadership to share “his side of the story.” Him and his colleagues also asked for tea, and Rashid emphasized more than three times that he wanted to be served by Lucy Wambui.

As a police officer, Rashid is certainly aware of the legal avenues to lodge a complaint, therefore we consider his request an excuse to enter our space and intimidate us. Above all, since MSJC has been documenting the killings of youth by the police in Mathare since 2015, a large number of these killings which have been done by Rashid himself, we can only interpret his visit to the MSJC office to “lodge a complaint” as a threat to our members.

What’s more, as the Social Justice Centres work on planning the Saba Saba March For Our Lives against police killings, enforced disappearances and all forms of state violence, his visit at this time also counts as intimidation as we build towards this important March.

We demand that the National Police Service ((NPS) and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) take this threat on MSJC seriously. We also urge other relevant grassroots and civil society actors to stand in solidarity with MSJC at this time.

We continue strongly in our commitment to demand justice and dignity for all victims of police violence.

In solidarity,

Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC)

 

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EJE Campaign Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Social Justice Centres Working Group

“War against the poor and youth”: Video of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard Solidarity Visit to Mathare

In February 2020, Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitration executions, came to Mathare to take part in a community-led conference that focused on the rampant extrajudicial killings of the poor in Nairobi. We greatly appreciated her solidarity visit, and we continue together to demand justice for our people.  In this video she talks about this visit, and the “war against the poor and youth” that Kenya and other states are waging. We thank Peace Brigades International for their work to bring Agnes Callamard to our community. See the video below.

https://youtu.be/3S3nAWaad5g

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Mothers of Victims & Survivors Network Papo Reto/Kenya & Brazil Solidarity Solidarity Women in Social Justice Centres

“Killings Get Back, We are Moving Forward” : The Launch of the Network of Mothers of Victims and Survivors of Police Violence

This article was written about the Mother of Victims and Survivors Network launch, and was originally published on RioOnWatch, as part of “ongoing reporting on social struggles around the world that dialogue with the local reality in Rio de Janeiro and offer important points of international comparison. ” We agree with RioOnWatch that “analyzing parallels and showing solidarity for peer communities allows us all to establish connections, share knowledge, build networks of support, and establish a sense of common experience and purpose.”

On February 15, nearly two years after beginning their work, the Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network launched their initiative at the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya.

The network is composed of close to fifty members from across the city’s low-income settlements—from Kayole, Mathare, Dandora, Mukuru, Kibera and elsewhere—all of whom have come together to seek justice for the killing or brutal victimization of members of their family, usually young men, by the police.

Echoing the struggles of the mothers of political prisoners in Kenya in the early nineties and similar inspirational mobilizations of madres and mães in Argentina and Brazil, the network is primarily composed of women. These are the mothers and wives of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Since 2017, the members of the Network have been coming together to support each other through grief, to offer solidarity in the judicial system for the mothers who have been lucky enough to have their cases reach court, to document new victims, and to strategize collectively. Though throughout this time they have witnessed and continue to experience the imbalances and biases of the Kenyan legal system, the day’s launch was a celebration of the Network’s tedious, painful, and painstaking work: of what they have accomplished and what they will continue to do to ensure justice for their communities.

In 2017, the MSJC, a community-based organization in the urban settlement of Mathare, released a participatory action report on extrajudicial killings in Kenya between 2013-2016. The report, titled “Who is Next?: A Participatory Action Research Report Against the Normalization of Extrajudicial Executions in Mathare,” chronicled the killing of at least 50 young men in Mathare and 803 nationally in the three-year period. While illustrative of the sinister force of the police in the country, most citizens recognize that this documentation is only the beginning. The number represents a minority of those who have been killed in the recent past and filed away as “thugs” or “suspected terrorists.”

Some of the families of the young men killed and documented in this report and other ongoing MSJC documentation are represented in the Network.

Mama Victor, the current coordinator of the Mothers of Victims and Survivors Network, lost her two sons, Victor and Bernard, on the same day in 2017. They were killed, meters apart, by police officers who had invaded Mathare, ostensibly to quell protests provoked by the election results released a day earlier.

In Lucy Wambui’s case, another co-leader of the Network, her husband, Christopher Maina, was killed when she was eight months pregnant with their first child. He was dragged from a building site where he had been working and killed at 2pm on a public street. His killer, a notorious police officer named Rashid, executed one of the witnesses to Maina’s killing a year later. Having also been filmed killing two young men in Eastleigh two months after killing Maina, Rashid continues to work as a police officer. Unjustly vindicated in an irresponsibly biased BBC documentary, this breed of policing reflects that what the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard called, during her February 2020 visit to Mathare, typical of “serial killers in uniform.”

Another member of the network is Mama Stella, whose son was one of the eight young men killed by the police in April 2016 in Mukuru. Though the media reported that they were “suspected thugs,” two of them were only 16, and one was 17 years old. The group had plans to start a community garbage collection business.

One of the youngest members of the network is 19-year-old Mso from Mathare, who has had two partners killed by the police in the same year. She is now left to care for two young sons in the same settlement where her husbands were killed.

While their family members are killed at whim, these women are unable to seek justice from government organizations such as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). According to its own “End-Term Board Report 2012 -2018,” the IPOA has only managed three convictions out of the 9878 cases it received during that period—just as in Brazil, the vast majority of these cases remain under endless investigation. And yet, against the injustice of these conditions, the Network has continued to grow.

These women know that the killing of their family members is only one extreme outcome in a continuum of structural violence that features, among other things: lack of access to water, poor schools, inadequate health care, and the militarization of their homes. “Children being killed like kukus [chicken],” said one mother.

They also know that the government’s informally formalized “shoot to kill” policy is reserved for spaces like theirs. Wealthy areas of the city see no such policing.

For this reason, these mothers came together on February 15 wearing red shirts to represent the[ir] “blood that had been shed.” On the back of these shirts were only three words: “justice for victims.”

Together they sang and danced and marched determinedly, expressing how the[ir] “fire had been lit” [moto imewaka], while dedicating time to plant trees in memory of those they had lost.

As these trees grow and are taken care of in a community that is governed by environmental apartheid, they will stand as symbols of residents’ struggle for justice. They will exist in opposition to a status quo, planted in a moment of change co-catalyzed when these mothers got up and said: “killings get back, we are moving forward.”

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EJE Campaign Police Brutality Social Justice Centres

Thank you to all who donated to Yasin Moyo’s Family + Vigil today (April 2 @ 4pm)

Thank you all who responded to our call for counselors for and donations to Yasin Moyo’s family — the 13 year old who was shot and killed by the police during the COVID-19 motivated curfew on March 30. It has been so painful for the family, and we are grateful to you all from all walks of life who donated what they could. We managed to get counselors who will support the whole family, and we received 21, 492 in cash from people of all walks of life. Special thanks to Thomas Andrew (who donated 10,000 KES) and Matilda Stevens (who donated 4900 kes).

Yesterday, we were in solidarity with Kiamaiko Community Justice Centre (KCJC) who held a press conference together with Yasin’s Family. The two pictures below document, first, Yasin’s father, and then Mama Rahma (who is also of MSJC and was collecting the monies on our behalf) and Kimani from KCJC.

 

Today there will be a vigil for Yasin Moyo at 4 pm in Kiamaiko, and all are welcome to stand in solidarity with the family and remember Yasin. It will also be a moment to come together and demand for justice.

We hope you can make it, and sincerely grateful for those who have contributed whatever they could to his family, as well as the counselors who have volunteered to stand with and counsel the family at this time.

Justice for Yasin!

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