Human rights activists led by Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton have urged the government to take legal action against police officers implicated in the 2017 murder of baby Samantha Pendo in Kisumu’s Nyalenda slum.
Baby Pendo met her tragic end after police officers reportedly smashed her head in while she was cradled by her mother, Lencer Awino.
The incident happened when protests rocked Kisumu County in 2017 following the annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election by the Supreme Court.
Despite a Kisumu Court finding five senior police officers culpable for Baby Pendo’s death in 2019 and directing the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to take legal action against them, the cops are allegedly still running around scot free.
The five are: AP Commandant Kisumu Central Benjamin Koima, Inspector of Police Linah Koigei, former Kisumu East OCPD Christopher Mutune, ex-County commander Titus Yoma and former OCS John Thiringi.
Speaking when he and other activists visited Baby Pendo’s family in Nyalendo on Friday, Irungu slammed the government for failing to wrap up the case almost five years after the incident occurred.
“I am here with members of Amnesty International essentially to express once again our solidarity and our empathy with the family of baby Pendo and particularly to her parents. We are here at her home in Nyalenda and we have just learnt her parents moved homes in anticipation of the elections,” said Irungu.
“Baby Pendo would have been 5 earlier this year and in many ways for this family it is a constant reminder that this country failed them at a time they needed our protection.”
His sentiments were echoed by human rights activist Boniface Akach, who expressed concern that many Kenyans fear for their safety ahead of the August General Election.
“I think the experience that the family of Baby Pendo faced is something that should never be repeated. No family should go through what they underwent,” he said.
“As we head into the general election, we want everybody to be assured of their security. It is very sad that the family of baby Pendo had to change houses out of fear of being targeted again.”
On his part, baby Pendo’s father Joseph Abinja urged Kenyans to maintain peace during the electioneering period while also urging politicians to accept the results of the polls without creating problems that may endanger the lives of Kenyans.
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