31 January 2013

Kenya: Treasury 'Withholding' Sh5 Billion Police Cash

Nairobi — A civil society group is urging the Treasury to urgently release a balance of Sh5 billion meant for the police to provide security during the election to ensure peace in the country.

The group under the umbrella of Usalama Forum says the country's security may be compromised during the election process unless the funds are released in time.

Charles Otieno, a governance and policy specialist at the group says that elections are occasions that need major security presence and should be handled carefully.

"This is just a manifestation of the politics that comes into play when agencies are supposed to work together in the election process. IEBC requests for money they are denied; police again ask for money they are denied and told to use their operational budget. If you intend to use police officers for 10 days you might not because you need at least Sh5 billion," he said.

Otieno who spoke while launching a report on security preparedness says unless more focus in placed on intelligence gathering, law enforcement agencies may experience difficulties handling the elections.

He is urging the National Intelligence Service to work closely with local communities before, during and even after the polls.

"They have gathered a lot of information now and they should not wait until it's too late to share that information. They should also provide the police with the lists of individuals who are involved in inciting and planning disruption of rallies and voting," said Otieno.

They have called on Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo to review standing orders to include specific guidelines to deal with demonstrations and other forms of unrest.

"The Inspector General should put in place a joint operation strategy that brings together all actors; he must also issue new standing orders particularly in relation to policing demonstrations and protests," he urged adding that failure of having new standing orders will endanger the conduct of peaceful demonstrations.

Kimaiyo has repeatedly assured that police are adequately prepared to secure the country during elections.

The group supported the rejection of Grace Kaindi, Samuel Arachi and Ndegwa Muhoro who were last Friday appointed for the positions of Deputy Inspector General's for the regular and Administration Police, as well as director for the Criminal Investigations Department respectively.

"This is a transition period and we are not going to get the right people until we do good vetting. We support the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) because we believe that their concerns are genuine the names of the deputies did not go to Parliament but the law requires that the President and the PM agree," said Usalama forums' coordinator Philip Ochieng'.

Last Saturday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga also rejected the appointments saying that IPOA had also issued a report highlighting serious allegations on the integrity of CID head Ndegwa Muhoro.

According to Odinga, IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru had also a written to him and the president indicating that Muhoro should not be considered for any of the police appointments.

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