By: WINNIE ATIENO
More than 12 police officers were asked to leave a public forum in Mombasa by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
This is after participants from the public said that they were uncomfortable revealing cases of police brutality and mistreatment in the presence of the law enforcers.
Those at the forum complained that they could not talk freely and openly.
After the police left, the participants, most of whom were youths, accused the police of arbitrary arrests in Old Town, Kisauni and Likoni.
“We are arrested in the name of fighting terrorism, why don’t they target the real terrorists and stop these arbitrary arrests and condemnation? Not all youths in this county are radicals,” said a participant who sought anonymity.
Kwale politician Hassan Chitembe said fighting corruption in the police force was a futile exercise since the officers are the worst paid public servants in the country.
He also asked the government to arm the police with sophisticated and modern weapons.
“They (police) are poorly paid, they live in deplorable conditions. The government needs to remunerate them well and build them better houses.
That is the recipe for fighting corruption within the force,” said Mr Hassan.
However, the director of inspections and monitoring at Ipoa, Mr Stephen Musau, said the force was making strides in changing the instilled colonial perception.
He said among the new measures taken by the government is refurbishing of the police stations by painting them.
Mr Musau said Ipoa was working closely with Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet to bring changes within the force.
“We want to remove the colonial mindset within the service. If anyone has been murdered by a police firearm, harassed, tortured or their human rights violated, we take up such cases. Our mandate is oversight,” he insisted.
Speaking at the Government Training School, Mr Musau said his team was in the region to sensitise the public to work closely with the national security council.