Deputy President’s Pilot Assaults Police Officer

GOK, Op-ed  |  02.23.16   By Politics Africa Staff

Alistair_LlewelynKenyan social media has been ablaze with the video of a pilot contracted by the Deputy President”s office assaulting a police officer.  The hashtag #DeportRutosPilot was trending on twitter.  The pilot, Alistair Llewelyn, was attempting to get the police officer, Corporal Mercy Wandera, to secure the scene.  In the background, a crowd of at least 50 onlookers had come to see something they a rarely see – a helicopter.  The confrontation turned ugly when the pilot tried to snatch the police officers phone.  He had to settle for her police baton.  She took it back and walked away, after which he follows and pushes her into the crowd.  A second male police officer emerges when the pilot decides to make a call to the boss.  The pilot originally thought to be Australian is from Timau, Kenya.  If prosecuted, he will be prosecuted in Kenya.

By all appearances, the majority of Kenyans on social media seem to side with the police officer who was assaulted.  Others believe she was incompetent and/or negligent in her duties.  The Inspector General has since launched an investigation with the public blessing of the Deputy President, William Ruto.

My question is where was the Deputy Presidents security detail?  Was there an advance security team deployed?  Was the Deputy President’s visit properly coordinated with local police?  Are these officers trained to secure scenes like this.  One thing is for sure, there was a security breach.  No one should have been allowed to come that close to the aircraft.  This at the very least should be a blot on the ability of Kenya’s security dons to protect the nations leaders.  Certainly, two local police officers with sticks shouldn’t be expected to do the job of protecting the second most powerful man in Kenya.  That is unless they are properly trained and equipped to do that.

A lot of questions need to be asked and answered to ensure this never happens again.  That being said, most Kenyans are skeptical that the pilot with be prosecuted.  This is based on a very porous justice system that tends to favor rich and politically connected Kenyans.

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