Use forensic science to fight crime

The National Forensic Laboratory at the DCI Headquarters

The National Forensic Laboratory at the DCI Headquarters in Nairobi County during the facility’s official opening. 

Photo credit: PSCU

If evidence is the live blood of the law, investigations are the heart which pumps that blood. Devoid of proper investigative capabilities, there can be no incontrovertible evidence to support serious criminal charges. 

When an investigation is compromised or incompetent, the criminal justice system suffers irreparable damage. The suspected horrific murder of Jeff is a case in point.

There cannot be successful prosecution of crimes like murder without convincing scientific and forensic evidence. Even when there seems to be believable circumstantial evidence and logical theories, such evidence and theories can only form the basis for further scientific inquiry to obtain a conviction—especially in murder cases, where the standard of proof is beyond any reasonable doubt.

The discourse and political intrigues regarding a forensic laboratory date back to the early years of the Kibaki administration, when Raila Odinga led the Opposition in sabotaging the establishment of the lab, claiming that Sh4 billion set aside for the project would be misappropriated.

The highly successful criminal investigations and convictions by the United States FBI, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and other Western world crime agencies credit their success to science.

More importantly, they are staffed with well-trained and dedicated teams of officers and professionals whose work ethic is beyond reproach. Unfortunately, in Kenya, meritocracy is an alien concept. Qualification to that space is based purely on connections.

Luckily, with Prof Kithure Kindiki, a sober intellectual, at the helm of the security docket, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is time the law professor took Kenya to a higher paradigm in the war against serious and organised crime through forensic science under a system that ensures only the most competent serve. 

Digitisation is the most enduring legacy the Interior cabinet secretary can bequeath to prosperity and the country’s criminal justice system.

Mr Ndegwa is a lawyer. [email protected].