Monday, March 15, 2010
Seven taxi drivers shot dead by police in Nairobi
Posted by Richard Trillo at Monday, March 15, 2010
"Integrity and justice", the motto of Kenya's administration police, doesn't sit comfortably with the killing on Wednesday night of seven unarmed taxi drivers. According to one driver who escaped, far from threatening the police, the drivers were ordered to lie down and executed in cold blood. The true details of what happened may never come out. There are reports that a feud between taxi drivers and boda-boda operators (motorcycle taxi drivers) turned violent. Matatu (shared taxi) drivers in Nairobi are often accused by the police of being controlled by the outlawed Mungiki gang. The local response on Thursday morning was street protests, and there has been an unusual amount of press coverage (newspaper reports that police have shot "suspected gangsters" are usually dealt with in one small paragraph, as if they were covering a domestic tragedy). The letter I sent to the Nation was printed, albeit somewhat mangled by a copyeditor. My point was not that Kenya's violent reputation might deter "hundreds" of tourists from visiting, but "hundreds of thousands". And in any case, what needs emphasising is that extra-judicial killings like these take place on a daily basis and go barely investigated. The undermining of Kenya's tourist industry, bad as that is, is a secondary issue.