, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 21 – The Treasury is now being blamed for failing to submit Sh8 billion which was meant to pay the second phase of police salaries, which is seriously affecting security operations due to low morale of officers.
Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode said the Treasury only submitted part of the money, which could not meet the budgeted amount for Phase II of the salary increment.
Sources at the Treasury told Capital News that only Sh4 billion was available this month to pay the salaries, but the Internal Security Ministry could not take it because it had promised police officers that the salary increment was to be paid in full.
A source at the Office of the President who has seen correspondence between Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia told us the Treasury had suggested having the amount paid out in two parts.
“The suggestion by the Treasury is not workable at all because that was not the initial agreement. The amount must be paid in full. That is why it was divided into three phases. And the Treasury has written back and stated that,” said one source who has seen correspondences between the two government departments.
“We are waiting to hear what the Treasury says. It has been given the option of releasing the entire amount next month. It is our hope that they will not drag it any further because of the discontent the delay is already causing,” he added.
Usalama Forum, a non-governmental organisation called on the Treasury to honour its part of the bargain because the amount was factored in the 2011/12 financial budget.
“We consider this behaviour by the Treasury and the inability of the relevant ministry to push for the plight of officers as unwarranted and only serve to stretch the trust of dedicated officers on their leaders beyond acceptable limits,” a statement sent by the organization’s Coordinator Philip Onguje said.
Mr Onguje said they were increasingly worried that the delay to pay police officers their salary increment may have an adverse effect to security next year when the country will hold a general election.
“It is also the clearest indication of a deliberate policy choice to continue disenfranchising dedicated police officers for another one full year. This is happening at a time when the officers shall be required to put out their best as the country enters a crucial electioneering period,” the organization which mainly monitors security matters and police operations in the country argued.
Officers furious with the pay delay have been jamming official communication used by the police force.
Since last week, senior officers using the channel to pass orders down to their juniors while coordinating security operations have been using their personal mobile phones because of the persistent interruptions.
Apart from hampering security operations, police officers who normally use the channel to coordinate the movement of VIP’s including President Mwai Kibaki had a problem communicating to one another on Wednesday morning due to frequent interruptions.
On Wednesday morning, the officers coordinating the movement of President Kibaki from State House Nairobi to the airport where he was due to catch a plane to Manyani to officiate the destruction of Ivory tusks had difficulty communicating and had to resort to their mobile phones.
“The channel is still experiencing interruptions by intruders. We had to use our mobile phones on different occasions. This problem is really affecting us,” one senior officer said.
“We avoided using the channel because we did not want the President to be caught up in traffic. It went on smoothly, but we are wondering how long the problem will persist because it is really hampering our work,” the officer who cannot be named because of the sensitivity of the matter said.
Presidential Escort officers usually have a communication channel reserved for them but for them to coordinate their activities, they have to communicate with officers at the Traffic department who rely on their own communication channel.
Both channels were experiencing communication breakdowns due to interruptions by officers furious with the delay of their pay increase.
Several other key figures in government including Ministers and even the Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere were also affected by the frequent interruptions of communication channels which officers use to clear traffic for them.
When the first phase of the police salary increment was paid out last year, the government announced that the second phase was to be paid this July and the third next year.
The first phase of the salary increment was paid out to the officers in July last year following a recommendation by the Justice Philip Ransley commission that documented challenges facing the law enforcement agencies.
Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti had assured the officers that the salary increments will be implemented annually for three years until next year.
When the first phase of the salary increment was implemented last July, the lowest ranked police officer – a constable under job group PG1-was paid Sh21,205 up from Sh18,155 in their previous pay slips.