Rein in rogue police

Police in Kisumu County on Tuesday reportedly shot and killed an innocent girl as she went about her preparations to go back to school and seriously injured three other people while fighting back a crowd that was protecting matatu crews against extortion by the officers.

That is not only shocking but also abhorrent to peace-loving Kenyans and the wider civilised society.

The issue of police using excessive force in ordinary operations such as control of unarmed protestors now sounds like a broken record.

The policing agencies do not seem willing to end the nauseating behaviour among the law enforcers. As Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said, the killer officers should have used teargas to disperse the crowd and, if it was really necessary, rubber bullets could do.

Such industry should be expended on criminals who are harassing defenceless residents.

Sadly, the officers were allegedly pursuing matatu crews who had refused to bribe them. That makes the deadly incident a stark reminder of the long-festering wound of corruption in the police service that successive governments have failed to address.

That is despite election campaign promises that convince the electorate to put the politicians, including presidential candidates, in power only for them to abandon their pledge to boost the war against corruption.

Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome, a policing veteran, was appointed by the new Ruto administration just under a year ago on the promise of eradicating extrajudicial killings by security agents.

He must now show his mettle by completing the mission of transforming the law enforcement agency from a police force to a police service which seemingly overwhelmed his predecessors.

Utumishi Kwa Wote (service to all), the National Police Service motto, must never be turned to ‘Hatari Kwa Wote’ (danger to all).