Launch of Missing Voices 2023 Report

Wednesday, 24th April 2024. Today, the Missing Voices Coalition launches its 2023 Annual Report. This is the fourth report and a great milestone for the Coalition. The theme of the 2023 report is “End Police Impunity.”

The launch coincides with another public statement made the by President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto. On Sunday, 21st April, 2024, the President reiterated his commitment to end extrajudicial killings and political assassinations.

The report records five significant developments, which are likely to have an impact on future trends in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The first one is the reporting of a reduced number of police killings and enforced disappearances from the figures Missing Voices Coalition recorded in 2022.

This signifies some level of success in the concerted advocacy interventions. However, it also demonstrates a growing observable trend where police have changed the ways and methods they use to carry out extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Sadly, at the same time, we have noted increased police impunity and increased killings during demonstrations as occasioned during the Maandamano period.

The Missing Voices Coalition is studying these new trends and will soon inform the public about
them, even as it builds the capacity of its members to confront this emerging reality.

The number of police killings in 2023 were 118 in total compared to 130 in 2022. This represents a reduction of 9.2%. Further, the number of enforced disappearances recorded were 10 in 2023, compared to 22 in 2022. This represents a reduction of 54.5% in recorded cases.

In total, 128 people were killed or forcefully disappeared in 2023. This is a 15.8% drop compared to a total of 152 cases recorded in 2022. Most of the killings occur during police anti-crime operations by state security agencies. In 2023, 58 people were killed because of anti-crime operations compared to 91 cases during the same period in 2022.

Anti-riot killings, however, increased in 2023 due to the Maandamano protests against high cost of living in March and July. Anti-terror related killings decreased from 18 in 2022 to 1 in 2023. Either the government has implemented a softer approach to dealing with terror-related cases or they have found more discrete ways of executing victims, which do not raise alarm in the wider public.

In terms of gender, men continued to be more vulnerable to police killings and impunity. The proportion of men killed in 2023 remained high, at 94% of all victims, compared to 95.3% in 2022. The proportion of women was recorded at 4.7% in 2022, compared to 6% in 2023, a slight increase.

The finding above is significant. Whereas more men continue to be killed, the proportion of women victims rose slightly. This slight increase cannot be ignored, given rising concerns over the phenomenon of “femicide” across the country.

In terms of age, young men aged 19-35 continue to be the main victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. This was the case in 2022 as well even though the proportion in 2022 was slightly higher than that in 2023. Out of the 130 recorded cases, young men in this age group made up 40% or 52 cases.

As has been the case consistently, very few police officers who carried out extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in 2023 were arrested or prosecuted. Only five (5) police officers were arrested in 2023, while those involved in the other cases (roughly 113) still carry on with their duties, hence increasing the risk of more extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances due to impunity.

It is notable, that all the five arrests were related to incidents of Gender Based Violence where police officers were engaged in altercations with loved ones and shot them.

Nairobi County continues to record a large proportion of police killings and enforced disappearances. It accounted for 46 out of the 130 recorded cases or 35.4%. This was a slight drop from the recorded cases in 2022, which numbered 53 in total. Kisumu County, which came second, recorded 9 cases.

We must, at this point, express our grave concerns with the impunity exhibited by the office of the Inspector General of Police in dealing with the Internal Affairs Unit of the National Police Service that acts as an internal accountability arm of NPS. Early this month (April) the IG recalled the IAU Director and transferred over 50 investigators in that office. In the last one-year IAU has had over five directors, a clear demonstration of ill motive on the side of the IG in handling police accountability. The regular reshuffle of the Directors has led to stalling of cases involving police impunity.

The third significant happening in 2023 was the release of the report of the National Task Force on Improvement of the Terms and Conditions of Service and Other Reforms for Members of the National Police Service, Kenya Prisons Service and the National Youth Service (Maraga Report). The report was presented to the Head of State on Thursday, November 16th 2023, at State House, Nairobi.

The Task Force was set up to identify the legal, policy, administrative, institutional, and operational constraints on effective service delivery by the three services. The report reiterated some of the structural issues that have led to police impunity over the years such as systemic corruption.

The fourth significant happening was the commitment made by the Attorney General, Justin Muturi, on Kenya’s possible ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED). Muturi made the commitment during the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) at Gigiri, Nairobi.

Missing Voices Coalition has been at the forefront, advocating for the ratification of the Convention, which Kenya signed in 2007. The delayed ratification of the Convention has continued to deny MVC and other stakeholders an important tool in fighting against enforced disappearances.

The fifth major development was the arraigning in court of police officers, most notably, Ahmed Rashid, on charges of murder. Rashid was charged with the murder of Jamal Mohamed and Mohamed Dahir Kheri that happened in 2017.

The charging of Ahmed Rashid is significant in causing deterrence, this is backed by a significant decrease in police killings by Pangani Police station where Ahmed Rashid ran the Pangani six squad. Police killings by Pangani police station reduce from 30 cases in our 2021 report to 11 killings in the 2022 report and now seven cases in the 2023 report.

Though the arraignment of individual suspected perpetrators cannot, in itself, deal with the structural causes of police impunity, it advances the fight against police impunity by assigning individual responsibility.

Call to Action

Attorney General:

  • Operationalise the National Coroners Services Act and the Prevention of Torture Act in consultation with the CS National Treasury.
  • Fast-track the payment of court awards and reparations to victims of unlawful police killings in consultation with the CS National Treasury.
  • Work with the CS National Security to increase budgetary allocation to facilitate the operationalization of the National Coroners Service under the National Coroners Service Act.

Inspector General:

  • Enhance the operation of Internal Affairs Unit of The NPS that is a shell of what it was before 2022 elections by giving the unit sufficient and independent budgetary allocation and security of tenure of the director.

To the DPP:

  • Expedite cases on extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances in court and work with the judiciary to provide a realistic timeline for when they will be resolved.
  • Develop a habeas corpus guideline with state oversight agencies, the judiciary, and civil society organizations.
  • Develop ODPP guidelines on the investigation of enforced disappearances.
  • Fast track the development of jurisprudence on prime responsibility and command of responsibility.


  • Expedite and finalize the cases of enforced disappearances and police killings before the court and habeas corpus before the court.
  • Prioritize the need for law reform on sanctions for government officials’ failure to obey court orders for production in habeas corpus cases.