In Kenya not only the numbers of Corona-virus deaths are rising, but also the numbers of killed people by the police is rising dramatically. It is obvious that the measures presented as „Corona-measures“ are not for people‘s health, but to oppress and exploit the people even harder and increase repression against the people who raise their justified demands.
Aggravation of political crisis of the ruling classes
Many people mistrust the government‘s measures allegedly against Corona-virus. In the capital city Nairobi, in the neighborhood called Sewage more than 8000 people lost their homes during the „corona-crisis“, the government destroyed their homes with bulldozers. The people already know that anti-people‘s methods: slum demolition, police brutality, corrupt politics and diseases that spread, because the government doesn‘t provide clean water. That is why a lot of people don‘t believe in the way the government reports about the virus. A 26 year old mother, who lost her home, said: „If government wants us to believe corona exists, they wouldn‘t have destroyed our homes“. The government implemented a nationwide curfew in the end of March and called up for social distancing and maintaining hygiene, which sounds like a big harassment against the majority of the people, who live under conditions, which doesn‘t allow to do that measures.
The Kenyan government was also conducting mass testing and made a lot of propaganda for it. What doesn‘t sound bad in the first moment, was a total lie in the end: nearly no one showed up to the test, because the government was making those it suspected of having the virus pay for their own quarantine in public facilities at a rate of more than 250 dollars for 14 days. Most of the people can not even pay for face-masks.
In a time, where curfew is implemented and crisis is getting increasing, the government plans to increase the taxes for food: maize, wheat flour, milk, eggs, cooking gas… the „explanation“ of the government is to „fund the 2020-21 budget“. That will increase poverty and hunger among the people. At the same time the situation of health care is very bad in Kenya. There are only 7000 doctors for a population of 43 million people, which is the official numbers. That clearly shows that the ruling classes are not interested at all to secure the people‘s health, but even put the costs of the crisis on the backs of the people, by destroying their houses and increasing the prices for daily food!
That is how people waiting for the distribution of food:
Police brutality, killings and protests of the people
„(…) they were already arresting and beating people. But with the current curfew, it‘s been worse than before.“
Police brutality and killings, especially in the slum areas, highly increased with the curfew. In Mathare, one of the biggest slums of Nairobi, with a population of 500.000 people in three m², a 13-year-old boy was shot dead on the balcony of his family flat by the police. He was shot dead only 20 minutes after the national curfew was officially proclaimed in the end of march. Only within the first two weeks of curfew, at least 12 people were killed by the police. A national survey in 2018 found that most Kenyans believed the biggest risk to their lives was violence by police. An report in 2017 said that of 177 reported cases of police killings in Africa, 122 of them were in Kenya. After the killing of the 13-year-old-boy in the Mathare slum, the people‘s gathered and forced out the police from the slum area. In an spontaneous demonstration the people brought the boy‘s dead body to the officials to demand justice. They shouted slogans that it was not Corona-virus, but the police which killed the boy.
On 8th of June there was a protest and demonstration in the Mathare slum. A young man who attended the protest said: „The curfew is making the violence so much worse, because now they can be killing in the name of corona“. A protester, whose friend was shot by the police, said: „We are here to protest against police killing us in the name of protecting us from corona. The police have killed us more than corona“.
The protesters were also in solidarity with the worldwide protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings. „The poor people of Mathare stand in solidarity with the poor people of America, the black people of America. We want them to know that this struggle is one“.
The oppressed and exploited people‘s are resisting and struggling against the aggravating oppression and exploitation. They see more and more that the ruling classes don‘t care for the people‘s health, neither for conditions where they can follow security measures. Police is enforcing the politics of the ruling classes and also follow the brutal tradition of colonial and imperialist oppression. It is clear that the people have to rise and struggle for their demands, in order to get justice and to struggle against exploitation and oppression!
Long live international solidarity!