NAIROBI, Kenya, 21 January – Gem Member of Parliament Elisha Odhiambo has linked the rise in unsolved murder cases to battles for supremacy between heads of crime investigations and the prosecution.
Odhiambo specifically pointed to the failure of Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to solve the mystery of the bodies recovered from the Yala River amid indications that the victims were shot to death before their bodies are thrown away.
The local MP lamented that if the frosty relationship between the two agencies posed a threat to security across the country.
“It hurts that the endless standoff between the DCI and the DPP and I believe that’s what has hampered the investigations,” the lawmaker told reporters on Friday moments after a local morgue said that she was overwhelmed by the influx of bodies recovered from the river.
The MP for Gem urged Kinoti and Haji to iron out their failure differences which Kenyans will continue to suffer at the hands of criminals.
“It is high time for the two agencies to put aside their personal differences and do their best in the interests of the country. I fear that if this issue is not addressed urgently, there will be an increase in cases of body dumping,” Odhiambo said.
Odhiambo urged Home Secretary Fred Matiangi to rally his troops to ensure the cases are resolved.
Lawmaker Gem said the dumping of the bodies poses a health and safety risk. Odhiambo further said that he would raise the issue in the National Assembly once the House resumes recess.
“Looking at what is happening, someone must have tortured the individuals,” Odhiambo said.
The Yala River, which empties into Lake Victoria, has been in the spotlight after the Yala Sub-County Hospital morgue recorded an influx of unclaimed bodies in recent days following the recovery of more than twenty bodies on various dates.
Hospital management advised authorities to transfer the bodies to Siaya County Referral Hospital, saying its morgue capacity had been exceeded.
Medical superintendent Dr Bruno Okall said the hospital morgue was unable to accommodate more bodies.
On October 20, 2021, the hospital buried nine unidentified bodies to create space at the morgue.
Dr Okall, in an advisory to the Officer Commanding Police Division at Gem, said the advisory will remain active until the situation is under control.
“Please use the referral hospital morgue or any public hospital morgue for now,” Dr Okall advised.
Bodies recovered from the river, the majority of whom are middle-aged men, appeared to have a similar disposal pattern: being strapped to heavy objects in apparent motion to keep them submerged in water.
Responding to the concerns of human rights defenders, the police sent a forensic team to examine the bodies found.
HAKI Africa wrote to DPP Noordin Haji asking for his intervention on the Yala River bodies saga after it emerged that some of the victims had been tortured and possibly murdered elsewhere before their bodies were dumped in the river which empties into Lake Victoria.
A family from Kepkelion in Kericho who identified an unclaimed body at the Yala morgue on Thursday said the victim appeared to have been tortured.
Philemon Chepkwony, 37, and one of his three friends disappeared on December 2 after being abducted.