Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Kenya: Life turned upside down by excessive use of force by the police in Mathare

Posted in: Kenya
    Friday, August 18, 2017 - 11:14
    Photo Credit: 
    ©Bryan Jaybee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Kenya held its second General Elections under the 2010 Constitution and sixth since the introduction of multiparty politics on 8 August 2017.

    The election was closely contested.

    The two major political formations that contested the elections were: the ruling Jubilee Party, headed by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, both seeking a second term; and the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), led by Raila Odinga, with Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate.

    According to the results declared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Uhuru Kenyatta received 54.2 per cent of the presidential vote, while Raila Odinga received 44.7 per cent.

    NASA has disputed the declared results against the background of the murder of Chris Musando, the IEBC’s ICT Manager a week before the elections.

    For 25 year old Felix Otieno, resident of Mathare, an informal settlement east of Nairobi, the declaration of the presidential results overturned his young life.

    After the presidential results were announced, there were protests in opposition strongholds, including Mathare.

    Felix said, “I was asleep around 10:00 am. Initially, I heard someone climbing the stairs to my room, which was followed by [a] loud kick on my door.”

    When he realised the people outside were police officers attempting to forcefully enter his house, he placed a refrigerator against the door to prevent their entry. He escaped through the back door.

    When he jumped out of the house, he noticed more police officers waiting for him.

    “They tried to grab me by the collar of the shirt, but I managed to escape and, in the process, I tore my T-shirt.”

    Felix escaped with only his boxer shorts and a torn tee-shirt.

    And, upon realising he had escaped, the police threw a tear gas canister into his house, which set it ablaze and razed it to the ground.

    Felix is now surviving on donations from well-wishers. The clothes he now wears were donated. As he no longer has a place to sleep, his friends are hosting him.

    “I feel like I have hit rock bottom,” he said. “I don’t have a regular job, I rely on doing manual labour, now I have to start from scratch.”

    LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CRISIS IN KENYA

    Kenya: Attempts to shut down human rights groups unlawful and irresponsible (15 Aug 2017)

    Kenya: Investigate police killings of pro-opposition protesters (14 Aug 2017)

    Kenya: Police must only use force as a last resort in dealing with protests (9 Aug 2017)

    Kenya: Murder of election official and threatening statements raise fears ahead of elections (2 Aug 2017)

    A few surviving household items after fire destroyed the entire building. The only things Felix Otieno has left are the clothes he had on when he rushed out of the house. Since the fire, he has been relying on well-wishers for food, clothes and shelter.

    ©Amnesty International/Kimani Nyoike
    Felix’s 57 year-old mother who lives nearby has a broken leg and can no longer support him.

    ©Amnesty International/Kimani Nyoike
    A man standing outside one of structures in Mathare informal settlement that was broken into by the police. 

    ©Amnesty International/Kimani Nyoike