There is disquiet in the police service after officers who had been shortlisted to attend interviews at the police pavilion in Nairobi for a Traffic Management Course were informed to apply afresh and directly to the Deputy Inspector General of Kenya police.
A circular dated April 16, 2019 penned by J.K Kieng and directed to all police bosses from the regions to all police stations further directed all the officers interested in joining the traffic department to apply through handwritten letters before Friday this week.
It is not clear what prompted the changes that have left those shortlisted unhappy, but a senior officer told Nairobi News that questions had been raised on the criteria used to shortlist applicants.
Contacted, Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru directed Nairobi News to police spokesperson Charles Owino who did not respond to our enquiries.
"Kindly speak to the police spokesperson about the matter, he is most suited to comment on that," said Mr Kimaru.
'MARRED WITH CORRUPTION'
However, a senior officer in the police service told Nairobi News that the initial selection was "marred with corruption with some officers forwarding names of the highest bidders and their close allies."
"Complaints then followed after officers were shortlisted and it is on that effect that a decision was reached that all the officers apply afresh," said the officer who spoke in confidence.
Officers who spoke to Nairobi News in confidence said that they have been preparing for the interviews that were scheduled to kick off on Tuesday this week but were only informed about the cancellation and new plans last week.
The traffic department is considered the most lucrative in the police force, especially by rogue officers keen on collecting bribes from motorists.
"You are directed to inform the candidates who had been shortlisted that the interviews which were scheduled to take place between April 23 to May 3 have been cancelled," read the circular seen by Nairobi News.
It further directed all the regions that had already handed over personal files of the officers who had been shortlisted to "make arrangements and collect them."
In addition, regions that were yet to submit files were also asked not to do so.
The circular also came with tough conditions for officers who were interested in applying for the job which include, one must be below the age of 40, one must not have faced any disciplinary conviction in the last two years and that one should not have faced more than two disciplinary convictions in their careers.
In addition, one must be confirmed in appointment and must have served in the Kenya police service for at least five years.
On Tueday, officers drawn from the Administrative Police department questioned why they were being locked out of the application even after they were merged with their Kenya Police service counterparts.
In police reforms issued late last year, former Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet gave directives that any police officer can be deployed to take any traffic duties.
Mr Boinnet further said that all traffic matters be handled by police station commanders who will be designated with dealing with all issues that deal with traffic.
Before the directives issued by Mr Boinnet, there existed a traffic department that was disengaged in its operation and command with traffic officers being answerable to a base commander who is an officer in the rank of a Chief Inspector.
The roles of traffic officers according to the service include, ensure free flow of traffic, prevention of accidents, investigations of accidents and enforcing of all rules and laws which the department is in charge of and initiating of road safety sensitization to members of the public.
An officer who spoke to Nairobi News in confidence said that he only learnt about the changes over the weekend.
"I was fully prepared to attend the interviews only to be informed that they had been called off. No-one is telling us the reason all we are being told is to apply afresh," said the officer.
However, another supported the move saying that it had given them a chance to apply and join the department.
"I never got a chance to apply in the first time and with the announcement I will ensure that I hand over my application it time," said another officer.
Traffic police commandant Samuel Kimaru yesterday declined to comment about the matter and instead directed us to the police spokesperson Charles Owino who never responded to our inquiries by the time of going to press.