The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has responded to allegations of harassment of Azimio Members of Parliament (MPs) by police officers during street protests.
IPOA launched investigations into the alleged harassment of Azimio MPs by KICC Police Station OCS on March 20, 2023. In a statement released on April 28, IPOA confirmed that it had commenced independent investigations into the incident.
The authority called upon Azimio MPs to confirm their availability to record statements with investigators regarding the incident. IPOA also requested Azimio leaders to help identify other victims of police brutality as well as witnesses.
According to IPOA, Section 7(1) a (i) of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Act accords the authority power to gather any information it considers necessary by such lawful means as may deem appropriate including requisition of reports, records, and documents from any source.
The move by IPOA came after Kathiani MP Robert Mbui claimed that an attack by law enforcement officers during the protest left him with a broken leg.
While appearing on Citizen TV, the Wiper Party MP noted that the force from the police meted against the protesters was too harsh. He accused Japhet Koome, the Nairobi Region Commander at the time of the protest, of ordering the attack.
The difference between the opposition and the police service saw Azimio la Umoja write to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting the trial of Police IG Koome over crimes against humanity.
Raila Odinga’s Chief Legal Advisor, Paul Mwangi, wrote the letter to the ICC and noted that police had used excessive force leading to deaths.
In response, Azimio demanded that Koome be personally held responsible for the brutal force with which the police handled the protesters.
On April 16, IG Koome had asked police officers to firmly deal with protesters and noted that no one should be threatened with court cases. The police service remained undaunted by the ICC letter from Azimio la Umoja.