18 February 2013

Kenya: AG Steps in to End Police Infighting

Attorney General Githu Muigai has stepped in to end the crisis in the police following infighting between the National Police Service Commission, the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Inspector General of Police and the Office of the President.

Githu has recommended that the NPSC "should not interfere with the independent command and overall operational control of the service by the Inspector General".

The AG has warned that the Inspector General David Kimaiyo was likely to fail in commanding the police independently if NPSC or any other person interfered with the IG.

The advisory come following a clash between the NPSC and the IG over the appointment of four junior policemen to top positions in the police and the management of the police.

"Any contrary interpretation would render the office of the Inspector General incapable of executing its mandate of commanding the National Police Service independently, without the influence or interference of anybody or person " said Githu in reference to people interfering with the IG.

Githu spelled out the work of both the IG and the NPSC following a letter dated January 10 by the head of Public Service Francis Kimemia requesting for advise.

Githu responded to Kimemia's request in a letter dated February 1 , 2013 and spelled out 21 functions of the IG and 26 roles of the NPSC.

The AG said that overlaps in the functions of the NPSC and the IG should be resolved through constructive discussion between the IG and the NPSC commissioners.

Githu stated that the IG was mandated by article 245 of the constitution to have independent command over the National police Service and also perform other functions prescribed by law.

Among the key functions of the IG as outlined by the AG include: Act on recommendations of the Independent Policing Oversight authority including compensation to victims of police misconduct.

The IG will also expected to cooperate with other public or private bodies to provide reliable statistics on crime rates, detection rate, public confidence in the police, number of complaints against the police as well as personnel statistics.

He will also be required to promote cooperation with international police agencies. Githu said subject to the provisions of the constitution or any written law, NPSC may delegate to the IG recruitment, appointments and promotion of police officers under the rank of Sergeant.

Among the key functions of the NPSC as outlined by Githu include recruit and appoint people to hold or act in offices in the service, confirm appointments and determine promotions and transfers within the National Police Service.

NPSC will also hear and determine appeals from members of the service receive and refer civilian complaints to the Independent policing oversight authority, the DPP, Kenya Human rights commission or any other state body dealing with public complaints and also monitor and evaluate the performance of the service.

The AG did not spell out any mandate of IPOA who were also in the infighting in the police over their mandate in the running of the police. NPSC and IPOA clashed after the latter dismissed an objection to have CID Director appointed to top positions in the police.

NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi who addressed the media at the height of a public debate that followed the objection by IPOA said IPOA was overstepping its mandate and that it was not within IPOA mandate to vet candidates for police appointments.

In an indirect reference to the the objection raised by Ipoa on the appointment of Ndegwa Muhoro as the CID director Kavuludi said: "Ipoa is not a vetting authority, it does not have an oversight role over the National Police Service nor in its management."

He said Ipoa's mandate is to deal with complaints against the police. Ipoa has objected to the appointment of Muhoro as the director of CID stating that he has issues with his integrity. Muhoro has since been sworn into office after the Government ignored IPOA objection.

Last Wednesday, IPOA Chairman Macharia Njeru said IPOA understood its mandate. Njeru who addressed a workshop in Nairobi said that it was mandated to scrutinize top policemen because it was part of its mandate to have an oversight role on the running of the police.

A meeting called by CIC in Naivasha on January 31 to discuss the mandate and working boundaries of Ipoa, NPSC and the Ministry of Internal Security ended prematurely after an NPSC commissioners walked out of the meeting.

CIC chairman Charles Nyachae had called the meeting to discuss the mandates of each of the above bodies. He said CIC will call another meeting to discuss the same after the Naivasha meeting failed.

Last month, National Security Advisory Council on stopped new appointments in the police until after the March 4 general election. NSAC noted that there growing anxiety in the police after the NPSC appointed junior policemen to top position in the police.

Among those appointed but their appointment put on hold include Cecily Gatiti who was appointed as the police director of personnel, Anthony Munga as the police spokesman and Charles Owino as the director of police Internal affairs.

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