KENYA NEWS – MAY 17

8 SUSPECTS LYNCHED OVER KILLINGS

There has been a significant increase in violence and crime in recent months.  Gangs armed with guns, machetes and other deadly crude weapons are continuing to terrorize villagers in Bungoma, Busia,and Madera.  This fact was acknowledged by President Kenyatta, who told police commanders to arrest and charge those behind recent killings irrespective their status in society.

His words seems to hint at something long suspected by the residents in these areas, that the killings and insecurity in the area were linked to recent political events in the country.  While there is no conclusive evidence to this accusation, it has been posited that local leaders who had lost their bid to be elected to government have armed these criminal groups to enact revenge on the residents.

Local communities in the affected areas have organized vigilante groups to defent themselves against the gangs.  This was done out of frustration with local authorities who appear not to be doing enough to protect their lives and property.  This vigilante justice is no less ruthless, as 8 suspects were publicly lynched in just the past week.  In one case a mob killed a woman accused of hosting suspected members of gangs that have hacked villagers to death.

These suspects would be profiled by local residents and their case brought to the vigilante groups.  The vigilantes then round up the suspects and bring them infront of a pseudo coutry, nicknamed ‘the hague’, where a hurried and improper trial is conducted.  These suspects then would typically be found guilty and executed.

This sense of frustration is understandable.  At least 15 people have been killed and more than 150 maimed since the month-long killing spree began.  Some had their eyes gouged out and others lost limbs in Bungoma and Busia counties.  Most residents feel that this mob justice is warrented due to the inaction by the police to stop the problems.

PUSH AND PULL OVER HOUSEHELP’S NSSF LEVIES

A debate is going on amongst househelp employees and their employers over the mandatory requirement to register domestic workers with National Social Security Fund.  IT would see that it is not a requirement for any employer of househelp to pay the 400KSh contribution to the fund, something that most employers are against.

Most of the employers point out that often times their hiredhelp stay with them for only a few weeks before they leave the job.  They worry that it is the employer that will get burned by these fees, that problems will arise when employees leave but the NSSF continues to deduct fees from the employer.  As such, they want it to be the responsibility of the employee to pay into the fund themselves.

The fact that the vast majority of househelp have no contract, very low pay, very little to say about their responsibilities, and are extremely vulnerable to unjust termination, makes this response by the employers expected.  When the employers make statements such as “Most domestic workers left after a weeks and preferred to sleep or be glued to the TV watching soap operas”, makes me highly suspicious of the legitimacy of their claims.  From my experience, there are no househelp that have the opportunity to sleep in or to watch soap operas all day.  There are, on the other hand, plenty of things for them  to complain about in regards to their working conditions.

 

ACTIVIST SUES POLICE OVER 999 LINE

An activist has sued the police service for failing to provide a toll free 999 emergence phone number.  Considering the poverty found in Kenya and in light of the recent insecurity, it is hard to imagine that the police services do not offer free emergency calling to the citizens of this country.  The activists argument is that a lack of an emergency number amounts to police abdicating their duties to prevent and fight frime.  He cites an experience of his where he had to call the inspector general of the police and  CID director on their personal telephone lines because the 999 emergency number was defunct.  Sometimes you can’t appreciate the small things that make your life good until they are gone.

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