Kenya: Police chief demoted to Post office chief his deputy now in charge of Livestock Development

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Kenyan police chief indicted with impunity and accused of orchestrating much of the killings that took place during the 2007 post election violence, has been demoted in a government response overhaul of the police system. A UN report published this year described the 2007 killings as systematic and carried out with total dispensation by the police.

Maj. Gen Hussein Ali on was demoted from Police General to the Post Office as Post Master General, on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. Human rights and security analysts say he was the major obstacle to reform. Many Kenyans believed that there could be no justice in Kenya without complete reform of the police service. Maj. Gen Hussein Ali has been replaced by Matthew Iteere, now former commandant of the general service unit. He was head of the presidential escort unit. Hussein Ali’s deputy, Mr Lawrence Mwandime, has also been moved to the Ministry of Livestock Development as Senior Deputy Secretary.

The UN rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions had asked the Kenyan government in February 2009, to sack Gen. Ali and Attorney General Amos Wako.

Maj. General Hussein Ali was appointed Police commissioner in 2004 whilst holding the rank of Brigadier in Kenya Air Force. His first significant act, upon his appointment was to disband the then feared police reserve as well as a mass clear-out of the police force hierarchy in what was seen to be a move to reform the force.

Violence broke out between supporters of President Kibaki and Mr Odinga, after claims that the presidential results were rigged. Kofi Annan, the chief mediator, expressed disappointment and said he would hand a list of the suspected ringleaders of the violence to the International Criminal Court if a local court was not set up soon. The rivals agreed to share power to bring an end to the violence in February 2008, following weeks of talks led by Mr. Annan.

The UN investigators in Kenya, Mr. Philip Alston reportedly received horrifying witness accounts of how young men and defenseless women were executed by Kenyan police, apparently for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to reports, a video footage released by Kenya’s state-sponsored rights body showed police constable Bernard Kiriinya admitting officers had been rewarded with $65 (£45) for brutally killing a suspect. He claimed he had seen other police officers execute 58 suspects instead of arresting them and said the police commissioner had ordered killings. Mr Kiriinya was shot dead last October in mysterious circumstances after filming his testimony for the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.

Earlier this year, Mr. Alston urged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to ensure those implicated by his investigations are punished. The failure to establish a local tribunal to charge the perpetrators of the post-election violence which killed 1,500 people had cast doubt over the government’s commitment to ending impunity.

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