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MCAs decry kanjo brutality

Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) in Nairobi have urged City Hall and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to reign in on rogue city inspectorate officers.

It comes amid complaints a hawker reportedly lost his teeth at the hands of the inspectorate officers, popularly known as kanjos, after allegedly being hit with a metal rod while handcuffed.

Deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege, while commenting on this matter at the Assembly, decried increasing cases of arbitrary arrests, harassment, and extortion of hawkers by the kanjos.

The Nairobi South Ward MCA accused the kanjos of unleashing brutality on hawkers instead of arresting and having them arraigned as is required by the law.

“Hon Speaker, a few days ago, a hawker lost all his teeth after he was allegedly handcuffed and brutally whipped with a metal rod by the county askaris before they exited the scene in a county registered vehicle. In the modern civilised society we are in, such heinous actions by government officers should not be entertained,” said Ms Chege.

It is alleged that the hawker, identified as Anthony Maina, was accosted by the askaris after he failed to raise a bribe of Sh100. He only had Sh20 at the time.

He was later brutalised by the officers losing his teeth in the process. Mr Maina, who sells socks in the city centre, is admitted at Mama Lucy Hospital where he is receiving treatment.

The Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee has now been tasked with taking to task City Hal and NMS on the actions taken on the officers who committed the heionous action to the said hawker.

The committee should also find out whether investigation into the conduct of the implicated officers has been done and if so, provide a report on the same.

This is in addition to the measures being taken by the two administrations to bring to an end the infamous ruthless handling of residents and traders by the inspectorate officers.

The deputy majority whip cited similar incidents of brutality in 2014 where another hawker almost lost his eyesight at the hands of the county askaris and in 2018, Yakub Rashid also lost his teeth in a similar manner.

“I urge this assembly to do whatever is necessary within the mandated powers to protect Nairobi residents against these rogue inspectorate officers,” she said.

The City inspectorate officers are charged with maintaining law and order by enforcing Nairobi City by-laws, however, they have been known for their brutality, ruthlessness and extortion rather than enforcement.

In order to reform the infamous askaris, NMS has partnered with the National Police Service to train at least 1,000 of the officers with modern skills in a bid to transform the sector into a service and not only an enforcement unit.