Two videos have emerged online revealing the shocking brutality of Uasin Gishu inspectorate officers on the county’s hawkers operating in Eldoret town.
In one of the videos captured on a street behind the Eldoret’s main market, a group of officers in civilian flanked by uniformed police officers are seen dragging a man on the ground while clobbering him.
The officers are also captured destroying dozens of fruits including bananas and oranges on several carts believed to belong to the hawkers.
The undated video, believed to have been shot on Thursday evening by an unknown person and shared on social media, exposes the brutality of the officers who beat up a helpless hawker with clubs as they dragged him to a waiting police truck in the presence of shocked members of the public.
It is believed that at least six people were rushed to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret Town after they sustained injuries during the confrontations between police and hawkers.
A second video shows a group of both regular and administration police officers destroying the fruits by kicking bunches of bananas.
GUNS AND CLUBS
A police pick up and a county enforcement vehicle are then seen driving on the fruits that are scattered all over with the officers following behind them clutching guns and clubs.
Some enforcement officers are also seen pushing away carts with the fruits as they leave the scene in a cloud of tear gas.
While commenting on the matter on Friday morning, the County Director for Communications Silas Tarus said the operation was a joint exercise between regular police, administration police, county enforcement officers and other security agents.
Mr Tarus accused the hawkers of failing to comply with the law even as he claimed that they were engaging in illegal activities.
“There is more than what meets the eye in the entire saga, talking to the police and the department of intelligence you will be shocked, the so-called hawkers were arrested with bhang and sachets of illicit brew and weapons,” said Tarus.
He claimed that the hawkers had refused to join Saccos so that they can be recognised as legitimate traders.
“The government requested them to join Saccos so that their operations can be legitimate but they are yet to do so because their activities in the streets are not legal,” said Mr Tarus.
He went on; “The police and county askaris will expose to you the real goons they are dealing with.
Again, the operation was not a pure county government operation it was sanctioned and coordinated by the national government. The county police and AP commandants are fully aware.”
The protests erupted when police tried to evict the hawkers from the streets. Three of the injured had gunshot wounds.
County Security advisor Paul Ruto indicated that the hawkers had refused to use a modern market put up for them by the government and were instead operating in the CBD.
“We have been urging them to take advantage of the new market that the county put up for them but they have been unwilling and operating on the streets against county regulations,” said Ruto.
Eldoret-based civil society has condemned the brutal attack on hawkers.
Centre for Human Right and Democracy (CHRD) CEO Mr Ken Wafula warned that his organization would take a legal action against the county government.
Mr Wafula called for the reshuffling of the entire enforcement team.
“These are not people trained to deal with human beings, they always handle hawkers as beasts, and this can be accepted,” he said.
He reiterated that hawkers contribute to the economy of the county thus the need to be respected as investors in the county.
Eldoret County Askaris and other police beating a hawker.Very inhuman, unlawful, ruthlawless and uncalled for.RT it pic.twitter.com/z3oPRkHFub
— Richie (@RICHIKARINGA) January 11, 2018