Police in Kenya have a long history of repressive response to public protests and in particular to anti-government protests. In many instances, protesters have been shot to death by police and many others injured and maimed. The most recent experience of police use of excessive violence was in response to the contested 2017 presidential elections. Similar violence was seen during the opposition-led demonstrations calling for the removal of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners in 2014.
Police responses to demonstrations is symptomatic of a larger problem of their understanding and interpretation of their role in the management of public order and gatherings. It is part of a long-standing approach – and tradition for that matter – of use of excessive force in the policing of public order. Excessive and often lethal force appear to be default responses to protests in Kenya. In many instances, it appears that the police do not see their role as that of facilitation of public gatherings outlined in Article 37 of the Constitution but rather that of suppression of protests.
Interested contributors are requested to submit an abstract of their papers ( not more than 350 words) and short biography of author (s) by 15 October 2018. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified shortly thereafter to develop a full paper, which will then be subjected to peer review. They will also be supposed to present the papers at an international conference to be held in Nairobi in early 2019.
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