4 July 2012

Kenya: Kibaki Security Chief Departs

PRESIDENT Kibaki's security boss Joel Kitili Mwendwa has left the Presidential Escort Unit after he displeased First Lady Lucy Kibaki.

Kitili left after the First Lady found out that the PNU activist Mary Wambui visited Kibaki at his Harambee house office last week. The senior Assistant Commissioner of Police was left out of the security entourage that accompanied Kibaki to Burundi for the country's 50th anniversary of independence.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kinoti Naragwi has stepped in as the head of the president's security detail and went to Burundi. Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere could not be reached for a comment yesterday as he did not answer his phones.

Presidential Press Service Isaya Kabira also could not be reached for a comment. He was said to have travelled with Kibaki to Burundi. "He had applied to go for a study leave," said Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

Mwendwa is the third senior officer to have left the president's security team since 2010. Kitili was accused of having allowed PNU activist Mary Wambui into Harambee House to meet Kibaki, according to a police source. Kitili had decided to leave PEU following difficulties that he experienced as the head of Kibaki's security, said another source.

According to the source, Kitili declined to accompany Kibaki to Burundi and went to Police headquarters at Vigilance house where he met Iteere and requested to be redeployed from PEU. He is now at the PEU staff offices in High Ridge awaiting further instructions. Last year, Lucy Kibaki kicked out PEU boss Benson Kibue Githinji after Kibaki attended a wedding in Westlands where Wambui was present.\Githinji was appointed escort commander in 2004, replacing Iteere who was promoted to GSU Commandant.

Before Githinji's appointment, he had been stationed at the GSU headquarters in Nairobi. Kitili replaced Githinji in 2010 after he was named Western Province police chief. George Gichane Nderitu was kicked out of PEU in 2010 after he and a State House valet in charge of the President's wardrobe failed to take Kibaki's clothes to the official laundry at the Serena Hotel.

Nderitu had served as Kibaki's bodyguard since the 1990s when he was the Leader of the Opposition and chairman of the Democratic Party. Nderitu became the officer in charge of communications at GSU headquarters in Ruaraka until last November when he was appointed Kenya's intelligence attaché in Tel Aviv. He was among 40 recently recruited diplomatic officers undergoing induction at the Kenya Institute of Administration yesterday before taking up their overseas postings.

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