9 November 2012

Kenya: Policeman Arrested for Inciting Go-Slow

An administration police officer was yesterday afternoon summarily dismissed and will today be charged with sending messages inciting his colleagues to stage a go- slow over the delay in the payment of their salary increment.

The arrest is an attempt by the government to stamp out growing discontent after the government failed to effect the last phase of salary increment which would have seen the policemen get a 42 per cent increase in their salaries. Instead, the government only gave them an 8.5 per cent salary increment.

Constable Philip Omondi attached to Kimilili policemen is alleged to have been sending messages on a Facebook account registered under the name of Bradly Philip Charles Konjung'a. In the message, Omondi is alleged to be 'calling on police to down their tools and let criminals do their work.'

Omondi was arrested and will be charged with seducing members of the police force from his duty or allegiance or inciting them to commit acts of mutiny.

Internal Security permanent secretary Mutea Iringo said the government was investigating the origin of other SMSs, Facebook and Twitter messages to establish the identity of persons who are generating or circulating them.

"To incite any such person to make or endeavor to make a mutinous assembly is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life," Iringo said.

He said that the National Police Service Act 2011 part VII Article 47(1),(2), and (3) limits the rights and fundamental freedoms of police officers because of the nature of services they provide.

All commanders were yesterday also instructed to monitor their officers and take immediate action against anyone who fails to perform their duties.

Iringo, who was flanked by deputy Police Commissioner Francis Okonya, administration police acting commandant Samuel Arachi and National Police Service Commission chairman Johnstone Kavuludi, said the government had implemented the salary increment and the police discontent was therefore not justified.

The police hierarchy has denied that there was any general go-slow by its officers claiming it was being carried out by only a few of the officers.

Yesterday, Kavuludi said the commission was aware of the difficulties the policemen experience while performing their duties and urged them to be patient as his team works to improve their salary and conditions of service.

"Police are unhappy about their conditions of service and pay and that might cause some sense of disillusion. Police officers are not happy and therefore there might be some slackening in performance of their duties. But I urge them to be calm and perform their duties because the NPSC has started the journey of reforms in earnest," he said.

Police have been demanding 42 per cent salary increment as per the 2010 salary increment schedule. The government had initially awarded 28 per cent salary increment in 2010 and 12 per cent in 2011 and the officers were expecting 42 per cent in October.

Yesterday insisted that the government had so far implemented a 70 per cent increment but in the same breath misspoke when he said the police officers had been awarded a 5.1 per cent increment last year and the final 8.5 per cent this year.

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