, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – A powerful clique in government is secretly plotting to amend sections of the National Police Service Commission Act and the National Police Service Act, in a bid to weaken the commission’s mandate.
The move has elicited protests from some police officers and members of the commission who term the move unconstitutional and ill intentioned.
The move is being spearheaded by the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution in the pretext that the current status undermines the implementation of Articles 238, 245 and 246 of the Constitution.
“CIC notes the urgency required in addressing the possible overlaps and ambiguities in the aforementioned Acts that may undermine the implementation of Articles 238, 245 and 246 of the Constitution.”
“It is our proposal that the amendments to those Acts be prioritised and tabled in Parliament as soon as possible,” says part of a letter by CIC vice-chairperson Elizabeth Muli dated March 12.
The letter is addressed to the Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo, Attorney General Githu Muigai, chairperson of the Kenya Law Reform Commission, Inspector General David Kimaiyo, his deputies Grace Kaindi and Samuel Arachi and the chairman of the NPSC Johnston Kavuludi.
Capital FM News has established that the plot to make the changes to the Acts was hatched in February when the commission was in Europe on an official trip.
The first such meeting was held on February 19, at the CIC offices and was headed by the chairman Charles Nyachae as shown in official correspondence from his office seen by Capital FM News.
According to Nyachae, the meeting was necessitated over a constitutional conflict between NPSC and the Inspector General’s office.
In one of the letters dated February 22, Nyachae notes their meeting agreed through possible amendments to the NPSC and NPS Acts on the general necessity to clarify the mandates of the NPSC, National Police Service (NPS), IG and the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA).
“The meeting agreed on the necessity to ensure independent command of the IG and to ensure the service remains a disciplined force,” reads part of the letter.
Nyachae said once the Amendment Bills are drafted by the ministry in consultation with the AG and the Kenya Law Reform Commission, “We shall subject the Bill to public participation in accordance with the constitution.”
Part of the changes that the officials want effected are on the provisions that give the commission powers to keep under review all matters relating to policies and standards or qualifications required of members of the service.
The officials want it to state that it will keep under review all matters relating to human resources, policies and standards or qualifications required of members of the service “in consultation with the Inspector General.”
The officials proposing the changes do not want the commission to exercise the disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in offices in the service and instead want the NPSC to among others ensure compliance with the prescribed disciplinary procedures and guidelines by the IG.
Further, the team wants the commission to receive regular reports from the IG on disciplinary matters and review or ratify action taken by the police boss.
“Once disciplinary decision has been made, it shall be communicated through the IG. Additionally, discipline is command functions. Failure to recognize the role of the IG or command structure within the service will undermine the command of the service envisioned under Article 245 of the constitution.”
The team led by Nyachae wants the provision that gives the commission powers to monitor the operations of the service to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the service and quality and standard rendered be deleted in totality.
The group has also proposed the changes in the law on the provisions of recruitment, appointment, transfer, promotion and disciplinary process.
Further, they want to delete the word ex-officio on the side of the IG in relation to the quorum of any meeting and ensure he or his deputies are present for any gathering of the commission to be effective on matters to do with recruitment, appointment, transfer, promotion and disciplinary.
A section of the members of the commission have accused officials at the Office of the President and the IG of being behind the proposed changes and are calling on the stakeholders to reject them.
“The establishment of the commission and other laws was driven by the cry from various stakeholders who felt the office of the IG was acting like uncontrolled king. Watering down its mandate will be wrong,” said two members who however asked not to be named.
In the end, another informed source explained, “They are looking at ways of disbanding the commission to pave way for their ill intentioned actions.”
Kimaiyo and members of the commission have in the recent days been at loggerhead over implementation of the laws that govern police operations.