25 December 2013

Kenya: NGO Unhappy With New KDF 'Policing' Unit

Photo: CIO
Civil society concerned over the setting up the Nairobi Metropolitan Command of Kenya Defence Forces (file photo).

Nairobi — A civil society group has criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta for allegedly rushing into setting up the Nairobi Metropolitan Command of Kenya Defense Forces without consulting the security industry players.

The Coalition for Constitution Implementation (CCI) said in a statement that Kenyatta should have engaged all the players so as to ensure that there would be no duplication of roles which could create a possible conflict with the National Police Service.

The civil society noted that proper groundwork should have been conducted first to establish whether or not this unit was necessary so as to give it a clear mandate.

"The security sector players include the police, relevant house committees on security and the Civil Society," said the group's convener Cidi Otieno.

Concerns have already been expressed over the conflict that might arise if the new Command Force's roles overlap those played by the police.

Otieno also expressed concerns that the new security structure might operate like the once dreaded Black Mamba which was an elite squad of the Uganda People Defense Force, which was notorious for terrorising many people in Kampala.

"Should the President fail to consult then CCI and the entire Civil Society shall hold peaceful mass demonstrations beginning next Year," he explained.

The new command structure has however been created already and it is expected to deal with emerging crimes among them terrorism, drug and arms trafficking in Nairobi County and its environs.

But the police service already has a unit that deals with terrorism known as the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit.

Kenya has in recent days been attacked by terrorists linked to the Al Shabab insurgents with the most notable attack striking a popular shopping mall in Nairobi's Westlands area.

More than 60 people died as a result of the September 21 attack, forcing Kenya to scale up its security measures.

Another four people died on December 14 when a powerful explosion went off in a matatu at Nairobi's Pangani area. Police are still trying to piece together their investigations into this attack.

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