16 April 2019

Kenya: Withdrawal of Tangatanga Leaders' Bodyguards Normal - Matiangi

Nairobi — Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has defended the withdrawal of bodyguards assigned to a section of Jubilee politicians terming it as "normal realignment" within the National Police Service.

The leaders, commonly referred to as the 'Tangatanga movement' known as supporting Deputy President William Ruto's presidential bid in 2022 had accused police of being used to silence them, a claim Matiangi has refuted.

To him, "The police commanders are doing their job as is supposed to be done."

Speaking during an interview with NTV on Monday night, the CS allayed fears that certain public figures are being targeted, urging politicians to desist from distorting facts.

This, he noted, has led to some of them publicly attacking him and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

"There is no Minister or Ps who allocated police constables duties. This realignment of police started a while ago," he said while revealing that it has affected even Cabinet Secretaries and other senior government officials.

Among those affected by the latest 'realignment' include Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, among others.

-The new security plan-

According to CS Matiangi, the ongoing police reforms will see some Administration Police officers adopted to offer bodyguard services.

This, he assured, "it is gradually happening across the board. It is not going to happen all at once."

He regretted that though a noble initiative, it had been politicized.

The plan is to have more police officers serving the public amid emerging crimes and prevailing ones like kidnapping, cattle rustling, and terrorism.

Of the 100,000 members of the police service, it is believed about 10,000 are deployed to offer VIP protection.

Matiangi said the government hopes to ease pressure on the National Police Service by facilitating training to security guards, who can alternatively offer those services to VIP's in the country.

Those assigned bodyguard duties, he said, will be licensed to hold firearms after careful yet thorough vetting by the Firearms and Licensing Board.

"I want to defend our Inspector General of Police... the reform work will continue," the CS asserted.

His appeal to Kenyans was: "Let us give them the benefit of doubt. These people are not politicians, they don't have a platform they can defend themselves."

Already, plans are underway to develop a legal mechanism to facilitate the training of security guards.

-Cleaning rot in among licensed firearm holders-

Some 13,000 rounds of ammunition and more than 700 guns that had been illegally acquired have been confiscated in the ongoing vetting of civilian firearms holders by the Firearms and Licensing Board.

Matiangi said the vetting has exposed massive rot, that has been attributed to corruption.

He has vowed to ensure the vetting which is part of reforms within the security sector is successful.

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