Outlawed criminal gangs must not return

Supporters of former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga engage police in running battles at the DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road. May 25, 2023

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangare | NMG

Last week’s altercation between a rowdy crowd and police at the DCI, in Nairobi, has elicited debate on whether the outlawed Mungiki sect has begun turning in its grave. The crowd had gone to demand the release of Maina Njenga, its former leader.

There’s nothing sinister with a group of friends going to check on their colleague in a police set-up; it happens everyday. But Mr Njenga is a politician who vied for an elective post in the last elections and it would be a misinformation to imagine he has no following, and not necessarily from elements of Mungiki.

But should investigations give him away as on a mission to revive the gang, the law and its mercilessness must be made to bear decisively on him. Mungiki fall on the same page as Confirm, Shinkololo, Sungusungu and other killer gangs that rained murder on Kenyans and this is a mile we should never walk again.

Both DP Rigathi Gachagua and Interior CS Kithure Kindiki have vowed to turn the heat on any budding outlawed group and assured Kenyans that there is little cause for alarm. But let us also draw a clean divide between meetings of criminals and friends on good causes; stereotyping cannot be the solution.

Kabaria ole Muturi, Nyeri

* * *

This week, rioters fought police at DCI headquarters in Nairobi over the arrest of Maina Njenga as others raided a police station in Isebania and other goons attacked a tea farm in Kericho.

This is very worrying as it seems our police are incapable of containing criminal elements.

Even during the recent political demonstrations, rioters were often seen slapping policemen and even commandeering police vehicles and taking metallic traffic spikes, as happened in Kisumu.

Police must develop a commanding role where any individual approaching them is required to stop and if they don’t, be given a warning shot. That is part of their rules of operation.

Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome must wake up and take charge. He must sack lacklustre OCSs, OCPDs and other commanders who are soiling the effectiveness of our police force.

Honestly, what picture are our police exhibiting to the world? Have they been converted to priesthood or nunnery or have they given up on fighting crime?

As far as I know, a police station is a protected area. So, how on earth do police allow demonstrations to be conducted there, even almost ransacking the armoury? An attack on a police post, station or chief’s camp must be repelled by deadly force, not tear gas.

In the President Daniel arap Moi era, nobody could dare attack a police station because of the effectiveness of the force.

In violent place, police need to increase well-equipped personnel. If tear gas seems not to work, why not deploy other measures? Equip riot police with sting ball grenades and stun guns because the current Kenyan rioter is extremely violent. It will also save police from sling-throwing mobs.

Robert Musamali, Nairobi