Work in Kisii town was disrupted for most of yesterday when hundreds of young men and women staged marches demanding justice following the death of one of their own at the hands of police.
They wore red T-shirts inscribed with the words “stop killing the youth”.
Mr Bramuel Chakunza, 38, a local phone technician, was reportedly assaulted by officers who were enforcing the curfew at 10.30pm on Saturday.
He died while being treated at Nyanchwa Adventist Hospital on Tuesday morning.
Regional Police Commander John Karanja attempted to calm the angry groups.
He conducted a closed-door meeting with security officers and local leaders at the Kisii Central Deputy County Commissioner’s office.
The meeting was attended by South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro, Youth executive Duke Mainga and Nominated Ward Representative Erick Janganya.
It was agreed that a post-mortem be done on the body today, with the police boss promising to investigate the incident.
“Investigative agencies are following up this matter. Any officer found culpable will face the law” Mr Karanja said.
However, the angry youth said Chakunza would not be buried until his family gets justice.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said a report on the incident would be out in three days.
The ministry, he added, will implement the recommendations of the investigation team that comprises the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the Internal Affairs Unit.
“Ninety nine per cent of our officers are decent people who are committed to their work. When one of us makes a mistake, the whole service should not be condemned,” Dr Matiang’i said at the National Police Service College Embakasi “A” campus.
He called for objective citizen review of the police to complement the ongoing reforms.
“These are our brothers and sisters. They work very hard, sometimes under very difficult circumstances. They run towards danger when we run away from it. They risk their lives for us,” he said.
“Even during this Christmas season, many of them are going to be in dangerous spots, away from their families. Pray for them.”
By August, police had reportedly killed 15 people since the government imposed the dusk-to-dawn curfew in March to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
Ipoa says it has received 87 complaints against police since the curfew and heightened security measures began.
The complaints touch on killings, shootings, harassment, assaults, robbery, inhuman treatment and sexual assault.
“After preliminary investigations, some 15 deaths and 31 incidents where victims sustained injuries have directly been linked to actions of police officers during curfew enforcement,” the authority said.
Police are often accused by human rights groups of using excessive force and carrying out unlawful killings, especially in poor neighbourhoods and rural Kenya.