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Police or Vigilante? Kenyans Speak on Rising Street Killings

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  • Cases of police-related killings or disappearance of suspected criminals turned heads in 2020, with at least 130 individuals reported as missing.

    According to Missing Voices, a website that documents suspected police killings, most of the missing suspects were youth from informal settlements and low-income residential areas.

    Individuals such as the infamous Hessy wa Kayole have struck fear at the heart of gangs terrorising Nairobi residents.

    Notably, messages posted on social media pages under the ‘Hessy’ handle highlight the unidentified officer’s mode of operation.

    A police officer carrying out a security operation.
    A police officer carrying out a security operation.
    File

    He always starts with a warning message targeting specific suspects in which they are urged to relocate or face dire consequences. Death usually follows soon after

    Muhabarishaji.com interviewed several Nairobians in a bid to find out their view on suspected gangsters being allegedly gunned down by law enforcement officers.

    “I am not pro-murder, but I have to say this new crop of thugs have proved to be a menace and I would not lose sleep over the gunning down of such individuals.”

    “Take the example of the teenage gangster who was gunned down in Dandora. His mother was crying on TV after confessing to having paid Ksh95,000 to bail him out less than a month before he was killed. He vowed to reform but was gunned down in the middle of a robbery,” Casper Kerry, a Buru Buru resident opined.

    His sentiments were echoed by residents interviewed in South C and Garden Estate.

    Stephen Kiragu, a resident of Utawala estate, was of a different opinion, “I believe in the judicial system. I’d rather have the courts fail to convict a thousand guilty thugs than the police shoot one innocent suspect”.

    The interviews showed that most Kenyans glorify police killings of suspects because they do not believe in the criminal justice system, killing the suspects to many is instant justice. 

    However, crime continues to increase even when police eliminate suspected gangs. 

    “We have to fix our justice systems,” Keri added.

    Speaking to Muhabarishaji.com, an officer working at the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), who prefered anonymity explained that despite the heavy criticism levelled against the police, some of the instances warrant lethal force.

    “When an officer’s life is in danger, he has the right to protect him/self,” he detailed.

    The Police Service Act requires police officers who use lethal fire to report to their immediate superior, explaining the circumstances that necessitated the use of force. Police officers also are required to report for investigation any use of force that leads to death or serious injury to the IPOA.

    On its part, Human Rights Watch has been making persistent calls to end the killings and the use of excessive force.

    “Kenyan police are shooting young people dead in total disregard of the rules for the use of force,” said Otsieno  Namwaya, an official at Human Rights Watch during a recent interview.

    On December 30, 2020, the search for a firearm snatched from a police officer in Umoja Estate, Nairobi ended tragically when the suspect and his accomplice were shot dead.

    The shooting was a drop in the ocean of similar incidences recorded over the last year.

    A police patrol cruiser pictured at the Shell area along Kangundo Road in Komarock. May 13, 2020.
    A police patrol cruiser pictured at the Shell area along Kangundo Road in Komarock. May 13, 2020.
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    Kenya

    Kenya Railways Launches Double Decker Train Service

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  • Kenya Railways on Wednesday, January 27, announced the resumption of a double stack cargo train service from the Mombasa via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). 

    In a statement, KR announced that it had started loading and moving double-stack freight trains between the Port of Mombasa and Inland Container Depot (ICD)Nairobi.

    “The move will help improve daily cargo evacuation and efficiency of the Port of Mombasa,” reads an excerpt of their statement.

    In addition, the national rail carrier stated that each train has a capacity of moving a minimum of 154 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

    The service was initially introduced in 2018 but was shut down after cargo movers avoided moving their goods via the SGR.

    The SGR is the only service in Kenya that has the capacity to ferry double-stacked and was one of the reasons why the modern rail was built at a cost of over Ksh360 billion. Cargo movers have complained of the high cost of moving cargo via the service which is compounded by delays in sorting cargo at the Nairobi ICD.  

    In recent months, traders and importers were facing delays in the delivery of cargo attributable to damaged wagons at the port of Mombasa.

    The damage to the 550 wagons was caused by six giant cranes installed at the facility at a cost of Sh1.2 billion.

    The damage caused a serious shortage of wagons which forced Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) to cut by more than half the number of SGR freight trains in the past two months.

    This resulted in delays in delivering cargo as well as congestion at the port.

    As of November 2020, more than 3,000 containers had remained uncollected as Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and KRC worked out on urgent measures to contain the situation.

    A ship docked at the Port of Mombasa.
    A ship docked at the Port of Mombasa.
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    Kirinyaga County Speaks on Passing BBI Bill

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  • Kirinyaga County Assembly has dismissed reports doing rounds on January 27, 2021, purporting that it had endorsed the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 on Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

    In a statement seen by Muhabarishaji.com, the County Assembly Speaker Anthony Waweru them information false, but confirmed that the assembly had received the bill on January 26, but was yet to deliberate on it.

    Waweru stated that Members of the Kirinyaga County Assembly are currently on recess and would resume preliminary seatings on February 8, 2021.

    A photo of Kirinyaga County Assembly MCAs
    Kirinyaga County Assembly MCAs during a retreat in Naivasha in 2017
    File

    “The County Assembly of Kirinyaga has not considered the Constitutional amendment Bill 2020 (BBI),” the statement reads in part.

    Waweru further stated that the assembly would deliberate on the amendment bill extensively and determinations presented to the Senate and National Assembly as stipulated by the law.

    “The County Assembly of Kirinyaga shall in consultation with the people of Kirinyaga and within the confines of the law consider the Constitutional Amendment Bill and submit its decisions to the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the National Assembly as guided by section 257(6) of the constitution of Kenya,” the statement reads.

    Members of County Assemblies have had the spotlight turned on them, as their determinations would make or break the BBI report.

    The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday, January 25, cleared the way for the BBI to move to county assemblies.

    This is after the commission confirmed that 1.4 million votes collected by the BBI secretariat were enough to kickstart the referendum process.

    The amendment bill will then be subjected to a referendum should a majority of the county assemblies pass the bill, whereas it will terminate immediately should it fail to garner the required threshold.

    A signpost infront of Kirinyaga County Assembly building
    A signpost in front of Kirinyaga County Assembly building.
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    Kenyan Home Buyers Refunded Millions

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  • A leading property developer in Kenya on Tuesday, January 26, announced it had refunded Ksh40 million to a section of its homebuyers.

    According to the Chairman of the Ksh5.2 billion, 44-floor apartment building at Upper Hill, the individuals who were granted the refund explained the harsh economic impact they had been going through during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “We refunded the deposits in full ranging from Ksh5 million to Ksh12 million,” he said.

    The real estate sector has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic.

    A housing estate under construction.
    A housing estate under construction.
    File

    According to data published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) covering the second quarter of 2020, the real estate sector growth slowed to 3.9% compared to 7.2% expansion in a similar period of 2019.

    Covid-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the Kenyan economy over the past few months. 

    The immediate impact on the sector has been a reduction of the labour force and disruption of supply chains, which is expected to translate to longer development periods.

    Kenya has also witnessed a negative impact on the supply chains as most developers source construction materials from nations such as China. 

    This translated to longer development periods owing to a shortage of resources and ultimately reduced building completions.

    The market is expected to experience a slow recovery post-Covid-19 as uptake will be subdued due to depressed income levels and changed priorities by prospective investors. 

    The government is expected to continue putting in place sound fiscal policies to cushion businesses and people’s disposable incomes.

    The price of properties in Kenya dropped to a great extent in 2020, with many property sellers providing huge discounts.

    Many real estate companies are providing personalized plans so that none of their clients feels any burden on their pocket when making a purchase.

    In terms of rent concession, reductions, and holidays, there has been no single basic formula applied by landlords. Rather, each and every landlord is dealing with their individual tenants on a case-to-case basis.

    Consumer behaviours are clearly being forced to change, which will result in a very different demand profile for property going forward.

    Materials pictured at a construction site.
    Materials pictured at a construction site.
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