4 February 2013

Kenya: Crisis in Police Over Infighting

Police management is in crisis following infighting between the National Police Service Commission, the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Office of Inspector General of Police and the Office of the President.

Inspector General David Kimaiyo and the NPSC are embroiled in a fight after the commission controversially appointed three junior officers into top positions without his knowledge.

The NPSC has also differed with Ipoa over the appointment of CID director Ndegwa Muhoro. The National Security Advisory Council on Friday put on hold new appointments in an effort to appease officers ahead of the March 4 general election.

The decision to suspend vetting of senior police officers, and new appointments, until after elections was reached following a high level security meeting between the NPSC, Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo and Kimaiyo.

The meeting in Naivasha was called by Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia after the NSAC expressed concern about the infighting.

The meeting was called to discuss growing anxiety in the police after the NPSC chairman Johnstone Kavuludi announced that the commission had appointed Cecily Gatiti as the police director of personnel, Anthony Munga as the police spokesman and Charles Owino as the director of police Internal affairs.

This was after efforts by the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) to have the four security bodies work in harmony failed.

A meeting called by CIC to discuss the mandate and working boundaries of Ipoa, NPSC and the Ministry of Internal Security ended prematurely after an NPSC commissioner walked out of the meeting at Harambee House last Thursday.

NPSC commission chairman Johnstone Kavuludi yesterday denied that his commissioner walked out of the meeting. Kavuludi, who last evening together with his commissioners flew out of the country for a three-week tour of Sweden, UK and Norway, said he attended the Naivasha meeting to the end with commissioner Ronald Musengi.

He said there was no conflict between the NPSC, the IG, Ipoa and the ministry as alleged on his appointment of junior officers to high offices.

Kavuludi said other commissioners left before the meeting ended because they planned to travel to the Swedish Embassy on Friday evening to pick their travel documents ahead of their flights last night.

Yesterday, CIC chairman Charles Nyachae said his commission will call another meeting of the NPSC, Ipoa and the Internal Security ministry to discuss the mandate of each of the bodies and how to work in harmony. Nyachae declined to state why the earlier meeting failed.

On the decision to stop transfers, promotions and new appointments, Nyachae said: "The solution will not be piecemeal approach. We must have a holistic approach to the issues."

Ipoa did not attend the meeting but sent apologies. Yesterday, Ipoa chairman Macharia Njeru said his commission had other engagements and could not attend the meeting.

Sources in government yesterday told the Star that failure by the four organisations to agree pushed Kimemia to call the crisis meeting at the Office of the President on Friday.

Sources at the Office of the President meeting said Kimemia, Iringo and Kimaiyo supported a resolution that NPSC withdraw the appointments through a press statement to pacify disgruntled police force.

The meeting, which started at around 5pm and went on until 2am Saturday, directed that NPSC announce that it had suspended plans to vet the police because of the anxiety and tension that it was causing in the police.

The statement jointly authored by Kavuludi and Iringo stated that the NPSC had decided to put on hold transfers, vetting of senior police officers, and new appointments until a new government comes into place.

The IG is however free to deploy extra police officers in areas considered to be insecure especially during the elections. Yesterday, Kimaiyo said the three junior officers who Kavuludi announced last week had been appointed to new positions will not be moving into their new offices.

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