Kenya: The Blues - Kenyans Take Issue With New Police Uniform

14 September 2018

Some described it as "extreme makeover" when President Kenyatta unveiled the new police uniform as he sought to revamp the service on Thursday.

But is it?

Many Kenyans don't think so, with some describing it bluntly as "very ugly".

"These uniforms are the ugliest ever!!! Will this reform police from corruption? @UKenyatta should instead think of better ways of driving this beautiful nation of ours," Dennis Mutai, an investment risk management adviser, tweeted on Friday.

Paul Mwariri returned a similar verdict after he compared the Persian-blue gear with the old ones, which were in the shades of blue, white and jungle green.

"Very very ugly! The old one was much better! There are many other things that need to be changed in the police...uniform is not one of them!" he shot, a feeling shared by Victor Mzolex.

"Our initial uniform is fantastic, commanding and illustrates fitness. This has Ugandan flag, looks like ya kanjo, now you cannot differentiate between a police officer and a salvation army band member."

For Nicholas Amokoh, "too many" pockets are the biggest problem with the new uniform.

He believes these 'bags' will not help the corruption problem in the police force.

Kenya Police have for the past four years topped Transparency International's corruption perception index despite efforts to stop the vice.

"These uniform has numerous pockets. Blazer has four, trouser has four too, now they easily subsidies upper wings for coins and lower wing for notes, Kenya tulikosea wapi?" he posted.

Former Agriculture Minister Kipruto arap Kirwa shared in Mr Amokoh's view, saying he wished the pockets were smaller.

"It is good for policemen to look good. However, the public ought to have been involved in deciding the new police uniform. I feel the pockets should even be smaller," he said.

But for others, like Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, colours and pockets are not an issue.

Their concern is the the millions of shillings that will be spent on new police wardrobe, which they fell is a misplaced budget.

"The new police uniform reminds me of the biblical story of new wine in old wine skins! Police are poorly paid & live in deplorable conditions... if you ask them for their views , uniform will not be in top ten need list," he tweeted.

That budget, Mr Agrippah Odhiambo said, should have been used to improve the salaries the officers receive and improve their housing and working conditions.

"Kenyans will never cease to amaze me. Having a new type of uniform without changing their mentality will not be of any value to Kenyans. Kenyans need reforms in service. How much money was spent on all these BTW? Ksh5 billion?" he said.

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