Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Police bosses are embroiled in deepening wrangles and turf wars even as security deteriorates across the country.
A cold war between Inspector General David Kimaiyo
and the chairman of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), Mr
Johnstone Kavuludi, burst to the open Tuesday as the two battled over
the recruitment of county commanders.
They are also fighting over proposals to amend the
law to give the Inspector General more authority in the appointment,
transfer and disciplining of officers.
Tuesday, Mr Kavuludi sensationally claimed that
there was a plot to derail the recruitment of 47 county police
commanders by anti-reformers.
“There has been a concerted attempt to derail the
vetting and interview of officers for the position of county commanders.
However, we are pleased to note that the Commission has received over
300 applications for these 94 advertised positions,” he said.
He did not directly accuse Mr Kimaiyo of
attempting to scuttle the recruitment but he may have been reacting to a
memo sent on Monday night by the Inspector General advising senior
officers not to apply for the positions. The application deadline was
Mr Kimaiyo has previously denounced the recruitment, saying he and his two deputies were not consulted by the commission.
Mr Kavuludi and other commissioners were attending
a meeting in Naivasha to agree on the criteria for vetting of the
county police bosses. Mr Kimaiyo had apparently excused himself from the
workshop to deal with the wave of insecurity in the country. His
absence at the important process hints at the disastrous alienation of
top police officers from essential functions over a force for which they
have command responsibility.
Police reforms carried out since the election are
an interesting experiment. It remains to be seen whether a commander can
effectively control a force whose members he has no power to hire,
sack, promote, transfer or discipline.
The NPSC has nine members. The IG and two other
representatives of the force are ordinary members and business can be
transacted without them.
In contrast, the 11-member Judicial Service
Commission chaired by the Chief Justice is predominantly made up of
lawyers: Three judges, one magistrate, the Attorney-General and two
lawyers nominated by the Law Society of Kenya.
The in-fighting in the leadership of the police
force is already having an impact on policing. There are signs of
worsening discipline in the force as well as disenchantment and apathy,
especially from the officer cadre which is facing the sack in the
Tuesday, 10 hardcore criminals escaped from
Kamukunji police station and a police officer was arrested allegedly
after attempting to hijack a trailer. Crime has reached almost
unprecedented levels in addition to the massacres in Busia and Bungoma
and terror attacks in Garissa and Wajir.
Mr Kimaiyo’s position on the recruitment has shifted dramatically over the past month.
On April 16, he wrote to NPSC recommending the
appointment of county commanders to replace Provincial Police Officers
whose positions have been scrapped. The letter was titled: “Proposal for
the selection and appointment of police officers to the position of
officers commanding police counties and review of appointments at
formations and directorates at the headquarters levels.”
Mr Kimaiyo suggested the hiring of County Kenya
Police Service Commanding Officers (CKPSCO), County Administration
Police Commanding Officers (CAPSCO) and County Criminal Investigations
Officers (CCIO) to head police activities at the counties for the
regular, AP and criminal investigation departments.
Mr Kimaiyo could not be reached to comment on the apparent change of heart.
At issue also are proposed amendments to the National Police Service Act.
Yesterday, the NPSC blamed “forces opposed to police reforms”
for the amendments which — if passed — will significantly empower the
office of the Inspector General while weakening the commission.
“It has come as a shock to the National Police
Service Commission that some senior officers in the Public Service who
are not members of this commission, have proposed amendments to the
National Police Service Act, 2011, with the intention of derailing
police reforms,” Mr Kavuludi said at the workshop at Sopa Lodge in
“The proposed amendments, which are being done
clandestinely, are intended to severely water down the powers of the
Commission. These amendments have neither been done with our knowledge,
participation or approval, nor the participation of other stakeholders,”
He added that the amendments include a
“frightening indemnity clause” where police officers who carry out
illegal orders from their superiors are protected. He asked MPs to
reject the changes.
The amendments propose independent powers for the Inspector General to promote, transfer and discipline officers.
It also wants the Inspector General to be the one
who receives reports recommending disciplinary measures against officers
such as interdiction or suspension. Currently, NPSC receives the
Mr Kimaiyo was quoted on Sunday confirming that he
is aware of the amendments. He, however, said they did not originate
from his office.
Additional reporting by Macharia Mwangi and Joyce Kimani