Crisis talks over Kenya police go slow

July 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere convened a crisis meeting at the Police headquarters on Friday following uproar by junior officers protesting the recently announced salary hike.

The meeting was held at Vigilance House for the better part of Friday morning but no official statement was released to the media.

It was attended by Provincial Police Chiefs and formation commanders as well as senior officers from various administrative offices at police headquarters.

Sources told Capital News that discussions mainly centered on the salary increment awarded to the police and prison warders and the outcry it had elicited after junior officers protested that it was "too little to meet their needs."

"The commissioner wanted to hear from his team on how the crisis will be handled because it is really hampering police work," one officer privy to the discussions in the meeting said.

Another senior officer aware of the agenda said "the commissioner is of the view that senior officers in all the areas should talk to their juniors on the need to appreciate what has been given to them," another senior officer who attended the meeting said.

When contacted by Capital News, Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Wahong\’o described the meeting as "routine" saying it was called to discuss security matters.

"It is a normal strategic meeting on security.  The senior officers are meeting with the commissioner to deliberate security matters."

Asked if the meeting had anything to do with the salary row, Mr Wahong\’o said: "I do not think it is in the agenda. Such meetings are held here regularly."

Mr Wahong\’o however urged the junior officers protesting the salary increment to learn "to appreciate when such increments are made."

"The government has really tried, it is important if we all appreciate because better things are coming; this is just the beginning," he said.

The Friday meeting followed protests staged by a section of junior officers mainly in urban areas including Nairobi where they jammed communication gadgets after the salary increment was announced by Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti.

Many termed it "an insult on our intellect" and vowed to continue doing so "until we get an assurance that something is going to be done."

Some of those who spoke to Capital News said the salary increment was "too little and did not match what we had been promised."

"How can you expect us to celebrate when the said increment cannot even make a difference in our lives," one Police Constable told Capital News on Thursday.

The junior officers were awarded a 28 percent salary increment which will see the lowest paid police officer – a constable under job group PG1 take home Sh21,205 up from Sh18,155 in their current pay slip.

The officers are protesting that the increment is too little because it only reflects a Sh3,000 difference in their pay slip.

The government has said it intends to implement the police salary increments in three phases which will run up to 2012.

The second phase will be implemented in July 2011 and the third in July 2012 when a police constable will earn Sh34,000.

Senior officers from job group PG11 and above were awarded a slightly lower increment of 25 percent. These include Deputy Commissioners of Police and Commandants of the Administration Police and those of the Prisons service.

"The second and third [phases] will have more significant increases when the allowances for uniformed officers in specialised areas of the police services will be reviewed," the Minister said.

A new salary structure for the police, prison services and APs released on Wednesday shows that minimum basic salary and allowances for a Corporal under job group PG2 who currently earns Sh35,235 would rise to Sh42,800 upon completion of the final phase.

The rank of a sergeant under job group three – a rank shared across the three disciplined services – will take home Sh45, 940 up from the current Sh37, 845.

An Inspector of Police of job group PG5 currently earning Sh56, 450 will rise to Sh60,000 inclusive of allowances while a Superintendent of Police under job group PG6 who currently earns Sh77,135 will take home and extra Sh4,000 shillings.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police or Commandant of the AP/Prisons under job group PG9 is currently paid Sh85,000 but will now earn Sh92,000.

Deputy Police Commissioners and Commandants under job group 11 will earn Sh153, 835 once the third phase is paid out in 2012.

The Commissioner of Police will take home Sh506, 220 while those in charge of the Prisons and the Administration Police will earn Sh388,060.

On Friday, the deputy Police Spokesman said "there is need for our junior officers to appreciate, and realise that the government is in the process of implementing several other reforms."


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