Jun 21, 2024, Posted by: Lila Mwangi

IPOA Launches Investigation into Police Shooting of Protestor in Nairobi

IPOA Launches Investigation into Police Shooting of Protestor in Nairobi

In a recent and tragic turn of events, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has initiated a thorough investigation into the shooting death of Rex Kanyike Masai, a 29-year-old protestor. Masai was allegedly shot by police during a mass protest against the contentious Finance Bill 2024. This incident occurred on Thursday, June 20, along Moi Avenue in Nairobi. IPOA Chairperson Anne Makori has confirmed that the Authority has already taken steps to contact Masai's family to aid in the ongoing investigation.

The protest attracted significant attention as thousands of citizens gathered to express their discontent over the proposed bill. Demonstrations, initially peaceful, turned tragic with the reported shooting of Masai. According to witness accounts and an aerial video capturing the scene, the incident took place around 7 pm, when protestors, who had been pushed back by the police from other areas, congregated along Moi Avenue.

Details of the Incident

Accounts from the ground paint a chaotic scene where frustrations boiled over into violence. Protestors, mostly unarmed, were met with force in an attempt by the police to disperse them. In the melee, Masai was among the unlucky few who found themselves at the epicenter of police action. The video footage shows Masai being shot amidst the crowd, sowing panic among other demonstrators.

IPOA, in its preliminary findings, has documented not only Masai’s death but also numerous cases of serious injuries sustained by both demonstrators and police officers on the scene. While specifics regarding the exact sequence of events leading to Masai’s death remain unclear, the aerial video has provided a critical piece of evidence in understanding the circumstances under which the shooting occurred.

Protestor and Police Response

Protestor and Police Response

Despite this tragic incident, the IPOA commended the majority of protestors for maintaining a peaceful stance throughout the demonstration, emphasizing their unarmed status. The IPOA also praised the National Police Service for exhibiting restraint prior to the violent outburst. Such commendation underscores the delicate balance required in managing civil unrest and the importance of peaceful protest.

During the protest, over 300 unarmed protestors were arrested, reflecting the scale and intensity of the police’s reaction. Most of those arrested have since been released, although the ordeal has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the involved individuals and their families.

IPOA's Call for Continued Restraint

In light of these events, IPOA has called for continued restraint by the police force. This appeal aims to prevent further violence and ensure that future demonstrations can proceed in a peaceful and lawful manner. By urging the public to remain calm and law-abiding, IPOA highlights the need for a collective effort in maintaining peace.

Anne Makori emphasized that investigations into such incidents are crucial not only for ensuring justice for victims like Rex Kanyike Masai but also for fostering accountability within the police force. The outcomes of these investigations are hoped to provide insights that could prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The Path Forward

The Path Forward

The death of Rex Kanyike Masai has sparked a broader discussion about police conduct during public demonstrations in Kenya. It has shed light on the existing tensions between law enforcement and citizens, particularly when controversial policies prompt large-scale protests. The incident has also raised questions about the protocols and training provided to police officers in handling peaceful protests.

Protestors and civil rights groups continue to demand justice for Masai and others affected by the violence. Calls for thorough investigations and reforms in police operations have grown louder, signaling a pressing need for systemic change. IPOA’s role in this context becomes even more vital, serving as a watchdog and an agent for accountability.

As the investigation proceeds, the hopes of Masai's family and the protestors are pinned on a transparent process that holds those responsible accountable. They also hope for reforms that would protect citizens' rights to peaceful protest, ensuring that such tragedies do not recur.

The tragic death of Rex Kanyike Masai serves as a somber reminder of the cost of civic engagement and the imperative for fair and just oversight. It underscores the significance of institutions like IPOA in safeguarding democratic principles and human rights.


Lila Mwangi

Lila Mwangi

I am a journalist with a keen interest in covering the intricate details of daily events across Africa. My work focuses on delivering accurate and insightful news reports. Each day, I strive to bring light to the stories that shape our continent's narrative. My passion for digging deeper into issues helps in crafting stories that not only inform but also provoke thought.

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