Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Police Crash Party for Humanitarian Workers

Posted in News Updates by KANERE on December 22, 2009

Police crashed a party in the Lutheran World Federation NGO compound of Kakuma Refugee Camp, citing loud noise disturbances and threatening to arrest the DJ.

  An unusual incident happened on Saturday night, the 10th of October, at the LWF compound when three policemen invaded a farewell party. The party was organized for German Technological Cooperation (GTZ) agency staff who were leaving the camp. During the early hours of the evening, the group entertainment team engaged the audience with music and everyone was on their feet dancing to the beat of the music.

“It was very colorful and bright, with every beat matching the dancers; it was lively and fantastic,” said one partygoer of the experience.

At about 12:00 midnight, everyone in the hall was surprised when the loud music came to a dead stop. Unnoticed by revelers, several Kenyan police officers had arrived on the scene and ordered the DJ to stop playing the music.

“You must stop playing the music! This is heard beyond 30 yards and it’s against rules and regulation by the law,” one police officer reportedly said.

Without speaking to anyone, the police officer went directly to the main speaker, unplugged the cable, and halted the music. Then the other police officers claimed that the DJ was under arrest. The police officers went on to say that all the equipment used for the party was to be taken to the police station. However, the equipment was not owned by GTZ but instead belonged to Film Aid International, which had offered to assist the party with a music system.

The police also wanted to confiscate the Macintosh laptop computer that the revelers were using to mix music, as well as the speakers. But Film Aid staff were firm, and refused the police’s attempt to take anything belonging to the organization out of the compound.

The DJ resisted and wanted to know the reasons for his arrest. He demanded that the police show him a warrant of arrest, which was not produced. The policemen claimed that they were not informed about the party ahead of time, and that the music was played at such a loud volume that it was disturbing the compound residents and people living around the area.

During the entire confrontation, GTZ staffs hosting the party remained seated, reportedly doing nothing to help the situation. Film Aid staff, on the other hand, engaged themselves in trying to stop the police. This caused them to argue with GTZ staff hosting the party.

The police caused a stir and created tension among the partygoers. They did not listen to the pleas of agency staffs. At about 1:20 am, LWF Compound Management was contacted and the security personnel tried to negotiate with the policemen. The police continued to insist that the music was too loud and wanted to arrest the DJ and confiscate Film Aid’s musical equipment.   

Partygoers started booing the policemen to go away or shoot if they wanted, but the policemen stood their ground unshaken, continuing to claim that they were never informed of the party. The fact was that the LWF compound Management were informed of the party, and it was their responsibility to facilitate other required arrangements.

The scene degenerated until LWF Compound Management was finally forced to call the UNHCR Head of Security Operations, Mr. Munuve, at 2:00 am. UNHCR security arrived approximately one and a half hours after the police had first invaded the party.

Mr. Munuve reached a dialogue by calling the LWF Compound Management, Film Aid Manager, and one of the police officers. They negotiated for some time until an agreement was reached at that odd hour of the night.

The police officers left the party without taking the DJ or the musical equipment. Partygoers clapped loudly in approval, while others were seen drunk on the floor and spent the night recuperating. Even after the police departed, the agency staffs and a few invited friends who were in attendance had lost their morale, and did not stay on partying into the morning as planned.

The next morning, people had mixed feelings about the invaded party. KANERE approached a few partygoers to share their views. “The music was played moderately, and the party was already made official in the compound, so I wonder who the music was disturbing,” said one staff member.

 “What the police officers were demanding should not really happen, because it is not the first time a party was conducted in the compound, and for their information we had invited all the Heads of Agencies,” said one anonymous Film Aid staff.

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