Citizens, elected leaders must support community policing

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DANN MWANGI

Over the last one month, the state of security in the country has been quite disturbing. There has been rampant insecurity in counties like Mandera, Bungoma, Busia and Nairobi. Of great concern is insecurity situations in Busia and Bungoma counties where organised marauding gangs have being killing innocent people and appear to be targeting specific individuals.

In these two counties, the perpetrators of such heinous crimes do not steal any property from the people but only kill or maim. These incidences have left some sections of citizens in these counties to take law into their own hands by killing anybody whom they suspect to belong to these gangs that are killing them.

Nevertheless, the insecurity cases in these counties have caught the eyes of the government as the deputy president has already met security bosses in theses counties and admonished some for not discharging their duties well and also ensuring that the security personnel have extra vehicles undertake their work.

The president has also met all the top security bosses in a bid to establish why the criminal gangs are killing citizens and yet we have a security force and also ordered extra budgetary allocations to stem insecurity.

However, of great concern, and especially in Busia and Bungoma counties is what or who is motivating the gangs to murder innocent citizens. There are those who are categorical that these gangs are financed by some politicians from these counties whereas others are either indifferent on this matter or stating that this is normal crime.

So far, two politicians have been summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department but no charges have been preferred against them.

In addition, the two dominant political parties in Bungoma Counties, New Ford Kenya and Ford Kenya seems to be pulling in different direction on what is the cause of insecurity there or even how to address the rampant insecurity. Meanwhile, the ordinary mwananchi bears the wrath of these gangs.

In this regard, the behaviour of some politicians in these counties raises many doubts as to whether they are in the first place committed to help reduce insecurity or are a part of the problem.

This is because many of them have made public declarations that the gangs are politically motivated but sadly, none of them have named any politician who is involved in these crimes. Civic duty and call to leadership would demand that these politicians name the perpetrators of these crimes but they are not willing to help the government in addressing these crimes.

Further, when two major political parties in these counties seems unable to work together in a bid to ensure peace prevails, it seems either both of them or one of them is a beneficiary of insecurity there, either now or future and therefore citizens must demand decisive action from these political leaders there.

Above all, through the National Police Service Act 2011, citizens in these counties and in Kenya should contribute in enhancing security in their counties. This is because even if the police are fully equipped and deployed to stem out insecurity, they cannot succeed without the help of the citizens. In fact, this inertia in the citizens explains why no citizen from these counties is willing to provide information to the police about these gangs.

Further, instead of citizens handing over to the police the suspected members of the gangs for investigation purposes, they prefer killing them. Of course emotions are high due to the killing of innocent people, but killing suspected gang members will not help to dismantle networks of organized gangs.

Therefore, when the Act is operationalised, it will provide for a good avenue to involve ordinary mwananchi in community policing. Under Section 96 of the Act, the role of the community policing initiatives will be to establish and maintain partnership between the community and the police service, promote communication between the service and the community and promote co-operation between the Service and the community in fulfilling the needs of the community regarding policing. Above all, the policing initiative will also help improve transparency in the police service and accountability of the service to the community and promoting policing problem identification and policing problem.

When citizens are involved in these policing initiatives, they will contribute to reducing crime in the Kenya. The National Police Service Commission must also ensure that these initiatives are owned by the communities and that they succeed as past community policing efforts, which were not anchored on law, have not largely succeed.

(Mwangi is a lawyer [email protected])

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