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CS Nakhumicha casts doubt on initiative that raised nearly Sh30M for protest victims

Health CS Nakhumicha is facing backlash after her remarks regarding a fundraiser that raised money to help victims of police brutality

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha in Parliament
  • Health CS Nakhumicha doubts the online fundraiser for victims of police brutality treatment
  • CS Nakhumicha claims that most victims have been treated and discharged without payment
  • The fundraiser has raised close to Sh30 million despite an initial target of Sh10 million

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has cast doubt on the online fundraiser launched to finance the treatment and internment of victims of police brutality during the anti-Finance Bill protests.

In a statement, CS Nakhumicha said that none of the victims admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital and other public facilities were charged for treatment.

“My attention has been drawn to efforts by some individuals to raise funds from the public to pay hospital bills for persons injured during the demonstrations.

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“Out of the total 294 casualties attended to in our referral hospitals, 235 have been treated for various degrees of injuries and discharged, and none have been asked for payment. Fifty-eight are still admitted, with one in ICU and three waiting for theatre,” the CS said.

Close to Sh30 million has been raised so far despite an initial target of Sh10 million.

In response to the statement, human rights activist Hanifa Adan, who has been managing the funds, responded by saying that KNH only waived charges for some patients after media exposés, adding that many more patients had not received the required treatment.

She accused the CS of trying to politicise the efforts to ensure that victims of police brutality receive adequate care.

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“We’ve been paying for Moi Referral Hospital, we’re paying for Embu Level 5 and other public hospitals as well. Even people in Mbagathi, we visited them and we are waiting for the invoices. I’m repeating, do not play politics with people’s lives,” Hanifa said.

“I said it here that KNH waived the bills. Nakhumicha just found her voice after all those days. Ask yourself why today? And after yesterday? They’re trying to make us all turn against each other,” she added.

Kenyans on social media have castigated the Health CS, accusing her of trying to discredit the initiative.

According to Hanifa, the payments to hospitals are made directly from the Mchanga platform to the health facilities.

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The protests against the Finance Bill 2024 resulted in numerous victims of police brutality.

According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, at least 39 people have been killed and 361 injured due to the "excessive and disproportionate" use of force by police against the largely peaceful protesters.

The protesters, many of them young Kenyans known as "Generation Z", have been met with water cannons, tear gas, live ammunition, rubber bullets, and other violent tactics by the police.

Several protesters have been killed, including some who were shot by police as they tried to storm the Parliament building.

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The High Court in Malindi has issued orders restraining the police from using such brutal force and tactics against the protesters, including extrajudicial killings, arrests, abductions, detention, harassment, intimidation, torture, and cruel treatment.

The court recognised that the protesters have been exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and that the police response has been disproportionate.

Despite President Ruto's decision to withdraw the controversial finance bill, the protesters have continued to demand accountability for the police brutality and deaths.

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Many Kenyans feel that the government's heavy-handed crackdown on the largely peaceful demonstrations was unwarranted and have called for Ruto's resignation.

The protests have highlighted the deep divisions and lack of trust between the government and the people, which the authorities will need to address to restore stability.

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