UoN students in court over police brutality during 2016 elections

Monday, September 21st, 2020 00:00 |
UoN studentsin demonstration.

University of Nairobi students who were brutally attacked by police officers and their property damaged during the hotly contested April 2016 Student Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU) elections can now sue the state for compensation.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has also directed that Chief Inspector Stanley Mbuvi, who was in charge of the General Service Unit (GSU), team be held responsible for the violations committed by the officers under his command.

“The aggrieved students are advised to institute appropriate legal proceedings for damages and compensation against the state,” ODDP said after concurring with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) recommendations.

Frustrating probe 

The directive followed deliberate efforts by both the police and the University administration to frustrate probe into the brutality that led to the inability of the IPOA to establish the identity of the officers who physically and sexually attacked the students.

Under Section 6(a) of the IPOA Act, the authority can investigate complaints and make recommendations to relevant authorities including recommendations for prosecution, compensation, and internal disciplinary action, among others.

During the protest that followed the declaration of Babu Owino as the SONU chairman after beating Mike Jacobs, the SONU offices were torched and the DPP has now directed the Central Nairobi Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss to investigate the circumstances that led to the fire at the offices.

IPOA however could not identify the officers who assaulted the students due to lack of cooperation from the University and the Police headquarters.

Several students were arrested and taken to Central police station but were later released following an order from the then Nairobi Region police commander Japheth Koome.

Koome told the investigators that his office received a letter from the UoN on March 24 requesting him to organise for security during the SONU elections.

He appointed Mboloi, the former Kasarani OCPD to be the operations commander.

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