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OPEN LETTER TO ISIOLO COUNTY COMMISSIONER MR. GEORGE NATEMBEYA REGARDING HIS SHOOT-TO-KILL ORDERS

George Natembeya-Isiolo County Commissioner

The attention of the Independent medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) has been drawn to a statement you are said to have issued during a peace meeting in Isiolo on Thursday 12th November 2015 authorizing shoot-to kill-orders against anyone found carrying firearms.

This order, in your view would contribute to curb general insecurity and cattle rustling in Isiolo County. Whereas we condemn crime in all its manifestations, and appreciate you efforts in enhancing public safety and security, it is our considered opinion that your orders are in total disregard of the Constitution of Kenya and the law and will only contribute to aggravating insecurity.

We wish to unequivocally express our dismay at this order that is not only a license for extrajudicial executions but also militates against the rules of natural justice, where one is assumed innocent until proven guilty through a competent judicial process. In addressing crime and insecurity the law has to be safeguarded and such an order is an outright affront to the provision of article 26 of the Constitution on the right to life and an unacceptable violation of the National Police Service Act 2011.

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We’d wish to bring to your attention the provisions of the sixth schedule of the National Police Service Act 2011 that sets out the rules and procedures on use of force and firearms by police officers. The law is categorical that force and firearms will only be used where less extreme means are inadequate; ostensibly to protect life and for self-defence. As such, blanket shoot-to-kill orders from anyone must be treated with the contempt they deserve. Any directive contrary to the set legal guidelines must be considered void ab initio. We remain ready to discuss with your good office the possibility of supporting the establishment of the County Policing Authority in Isiolo County with a view to putting in place a more sustainable approach to public safety and security in the county.

We highly value and recognize the critical role played by the National Police Service in fostering public safety and security and it is our considered view that intelligence policing should be strengthened to avert criminal activities not only in Isiolo county but the entire country. Shoot-tokill directives are a thing of the past and should not be replacements to an integrated community driven security agenda for this country.

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It is for this reason that we demand that you denounces this directive in order to allay public fears and reassure residents of Isiolo County and Kenyans in general of your commitment to safeguarding the Constitution and the rule of law. We at the same time urge police officers to ignore Mr. Natembeya’s orders and continue serving Kenyans within the ambits of the law.

We appeal to the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate these utterances with a view to instituting proceedings against Mr. Natembeya.

Signed: Peter Kiama,


Executive director

Independent Medico-Legal Unit

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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