A woman's life was snuffed out in yesterdays June 3, 2009 Nairobi City riots between hawkers ,the Kenya Police and Nairobi City Council Askaris. Unfortunately this is not the first time that an innocent person has died by a stray bullet due to the frequent riots by hawkers determined to continue selling their wares in the Central Business District streets! Its hardly a month when a Ministry of finance driver and a shop steward were shot in such circumstances.(PHOTO :Courtesy of DailyNation)
My take on the issue is that the Police need to re think their strategies in dealing with riots .I witnessed the whole incident from the confines of my office in Moi Avenue and can confidently say that the police exercised a lot of restraint and hardly shot directly at the rioters cum thugs who went robbing passersby and vehicles ! I believe that the Police should employ the itchy water cannons,fortified riot trucks, placed marksmen atop buildings with rubber bullets/pellets,anvil technique etc. Most certainly i am not a security expert but firmly believe that tear gas and shooting at the mob with live bullets is not helping in any way save for killing innocent civilians.Often the Police are repulsed or run out of tear gas forcing them to retreat! It is indeed a shame that following the post election violence the police force is still resorting to past methods that were ill effective.
Brigadier Ali please send you officers to South Africa or else where for riot and crowd management training and make sure they implement the training. There are modern crime management techniques which can be employed, there is indeed no need to re invent the wheel.At the same time i believe each Police station should be equipped with one modern optimum computer with more than 500 Gigabyte disk space and a digital camera. Every person arrested should be taken photos ,profiled and indexed in the Stations database which can be networked to a central database. What this will accomplish is the indexing of repeat offenders , their particulars, movement and location.The world moved forward with technology almost 25 years ago.Kenya Police should too and it doesn't need to cost much. A good computer is less than Kshs 50,000 and a camera is Kshs 15,000/= is that too much to ask...?
( here is a copy of the riot news report video)