In Kenya’s capital Nairobi, police brutality has long been criticized. But the violence this month against demonstrators still caused shock. And AP delivered an all-formats documentation of it, along with exposing extraordinary attempts to hide it.
As Kenyans protested new taxes and the cost of living, freelance photographer Brian Inganga delivered widely shared images of several people shot by police in one of Nairobi’s most volatile neighborhoods. He also showed a man who had hidden himself among journalists, who then tackled and detained a protester shouting about tear gas making his child faint. That pushed the Media Council of Kenya to say it was dangerous for undercover police to pose as journalists.
As rumors circulated about the number of people shot dead, AP’s Nairobi team confirmed that police got orders not to report the deaths, not even to their oversight authority, which is illegal.
East Africa correspondent Cara Anna combined that with data from a medical-legal watchdog group to show that police had shot dead more than 30 people in protests this month, all in Kenya’s poorest neighborhoods.
East Africa writer Evelyne Musambi wrote about one of the victims, a young man who carted water and whose family said they couldn’t afford an autopsy.
Kenya’s president, William Ruto, had relied on the support of just these kinds of working class “hustlers” to win office a year ago, but they took the brunt of the violence.
Video journalist Josphat Kasire, who helped deliver hours of live coverage from the thick of the unrest, was instrumental in finding the victim’s family through patient efforts at the morgue.
AP’s work appeared in The Independent, ABC, The Washington Post and Canadian outlets like CTV and the Toronto Star. The New York Times reached out to AP in hopes of contacting the watchdog monitoring police shootings.
AP’s work, along with coverage by the Kenyan media, also pushed the president to move from praising police for standing firm against the protests to warning police about extrajudicial killings.
For showing the scale of violence that the police wanted to keep under wraps, all while protecting each other’s backs amid street violence, Inganga, Anna, Musambi and Kasire are Best of the Week — First Winner.