Chief Justice orders action as police claim no evidence over Busia rape

Administration Police spokesperson Masoud Mwinyi speaks at his office, November 2, 2013. Police have claimed that they have not gathered enough evidence to charge the suspects over the Busia rape. ANTHONY OMUYA

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has demanded immediate action in the gang-rape case of the Busia schoolgirl whose plight has attracted global attention.

Mutunga has asked the National Council for the Administration of Justice to take up the matter without further delay.

Police have, however, claimed they have not gathered enough evidence to charge the suspects with rape.

On Saturday, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said the suspects, who are still at large, would be charged with causing grievous harm to the Standard Eight pupil.

“It may therefore be futile to charge the suspects in a court of law with rape without proper evidence as the case will just collapse,’’ Mr Kimaiyo said in a statement read on his behalf by Mr Masoud Munyi, the Administration Police spokesperson.

On Saturday, the Chief Justice said in a post on Twitter: “#JusticeForLiz: “I have sent matter to the National Council for the Administration of Justice for immediate action,’’

Established in 2011, the council is meant to coordinate and speed up administration of justice as well as address public grievances relating to security and access to justice.

But in a new twist to the story, Mr Kimaiyo said action had been taken against officers who first handled the case and released three suspects after making them slash grass, “after the complainants and the suspects’ families agreed.’’

“Their key mistake is that this agreement was not recorded in writing. This matter which is treated as a serious procedural oversight and disciplinary action has been instituted against the officers,’’ he said.

Mr Kimaiyo did not state the offence that the suspects had committed to warrant the “punishment.’’

The teenager’s mother has expressed shock at the police claims and denied entering into any agreement with anyone.

“I recorded statements with police in Tingolo when my daughter was attacked. When I took her to the dispensary I was accompanied by some parents of the suspects. 

"It appears they want to create lies to shield those who have caused this anguish to my daughter.  I do not have any more strength to engage with people who know they are telling lies,’’ the girl’s mother said from Gynocare Fistula Centre where the girl is admitted.

She said her statements to the police were clear that she was thrown into the latrine by the young men “to die".

“Do they want to kill us a second time by claiming we are lying and they all gang-raped her, and  it appears they are calling us liars because we are poor. Let them come out and tell me what they did to my child so we can finish this nightmare. I am tired.’’

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In his three page statement, Mr Kimaiyo appeared to draw conclusions that Liz’s family reported the gang rape when after “her condition deteriorated.’’

“It is obvious that the suspects conspired amongst themselves, armed themselves with rungus with intention of committing a felony. They are thus pursued and will definitely be charged in court.’’

On Friday, the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) executive director Saida Ali accused the police of issuing contradictory information.

“His statement insinuates that there was rape yet what they should is to first complete investigations. On Friday we met the Chief of Staff in the office of the IG and other senior staff and they said to us that they were almost completing investigations and therefore closing in on the suspects. They assured us they would pursue and make arrests," she said.

The rape and violent attack of the Standard Seven girl from Tingolo, in Butula on June 26 and failure to take action against the perpetrators has sparked public outrage with more than 1.2 million people across the world signing a petition demanding justice for the teenager.

Liz, who is now bound to a wheelchair, is receiving treatment at Gynocare Fistula Centre in Eldoret for a spinal damage, obstetric fistula and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Her family says her attackers threw her into a pit latrine to conceal their crime.

The petition to demand justice for Liz was created by Kenyan youth Nebila Abdulmelik, of the African Women’s Communication Network (Femnet) through the international campaign group Avaaz.

On Thursday, more than 300 protestors demanding justice for the 16-year old marched through the streets of Nairobi to the offices of Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo where they handed out the petition.

Dubbed “keep off our panties’’ the protestors also demanded arrest and prosecution of the six suspects and action against Administration Police officers from Tingolo who released three of the suspects after making them slash grass in the police compound as punishment.

Meanwhile, two Kenya-based companies, Africa Biosystems Limited and Life Technologies, are to donate a specialised kit that would help confirm identification and prosecute suspects who gang-raped the girl.

The kit will be given to the Government Chemist, police and women rights groups.

Africa Biosystems Limited managing director Yasmin Verjee said the kit, they intend to donate makes multiple copies of DNA and the markers of the DNA are analysed.

“This technology is important because it uses only a small sample to get a DNA profile for analysis. This will help prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous crime,’’ Mr Verjee said.


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