Ali blames rights crusaders for emboldening killer gangs

Friday April 24 2009

Police Commissioner Hussein Ali.

Police Commissioner Hussein Ali. He accuses Philip Alston and KNCHR of sanitising and emboldening criminal gangs. Photo/FILE 

By EMEKA-MAYAKA GEKARA

Kenya police commissioner Hussein Ali is in a foul mood. And his major irritants include Prof Philip Alston who came to town early this year, and officials of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

After the killing of dozens of people by suspected Mungiki members in Central Province this week, Maj-Gen Ali accuses the two of sanitising and emboldening criminal gangs.

Speaking during NTV’s ‘On the Record’ show on Thursday evening, he termed them as “apologists for criminals.”

“One is tempted to question the complicity in the commission’s persistent support for a criminal group. Mungiki should not be protected,” he said.

There is no love lost between the police and the state agency, which has consistently accused security organs of gross human rights violations including unlawful arrests, torture and execution of crime suspects.

But the vice-chairman of the rights commission Hassan Omar Hassan on Friday asked the police commissioner to take responsibility for insecurity across the country.

Mr Hassan accused the police boss of slandering the commission and told the Saturday Nation that his team was considering taking him to court over his statements.

The official described Mr Ali as “a desperate commissioner who is using propaganda to scapegoat the commission for failure by the police to prevent crime.”
Mr Hassan alleged plans by the police to “plant money” in accounts of commission officials with the aim of linking them to criminal groups.
While releasing his report in February, Prof Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on unlawful executions, blamed the Kenyan police for extra-judicial killings. “Killings by police in Kenya are systematic, widespread and carefully planned,” he said.

He asked President Kibaki to sack Maj-Gen Ali, during whose watch, he said, special death squads were set up in the force.

But Maj-Gen Ali said Prof Alston’s report was the work of “fantasy, fiction and probably of the worst kind.”

For the police commissioner, statements by rights agency, and especially that of the UN official, had given members of the outlawed sect licence to continue their activities with abandon.
The gang is notorious for extortion, oathing and ritual slaughter of its victims.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Saturday Nation on Thursday evening that Prof Alston was “the worst thing that happened to Kenya after the post-election violence.”

For his part, Mr Njuguna Gitau, the spokesman of the National Youth Alliance, seen as the political wing of Mungiki, said that 14 of the 29 people killed in Central Kenya this week were “our members.”

He accused police of plotting the killings “to tarnish our name in order to redeem their image over their role on extra-judicial killings.”