, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – The National Gender and Equality Commission is seeking the reinstatement of the legal provision that requires the two Deputy Inspectors General of Police to be of opposite gender.
Chairperson Winfred Lichuma told Capital News that the Commission, through the Office of the Attorney General, is seeking to have Parliament restore the section they deleted through recent amendments to the National Police Service Act.
“We’ll seek to review the law once more through the Office of the AG to Parliament,” she said.
Section 14(b) of the National Police Service Act was deleted through a second Miscellaneous Amendments Act, 2015 which was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month.
The Act makes a raft of other changes to the National Police Service Act and the Judicial Service Commission Act which have been described as retrogressive by the opposition and some Civil Society Organisations.
The state made no secret of its opposition to the gender clause when it replaced Grace Kaindi as Inspector General of Police with Joel Kitili last year.
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Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery defended the decision to have two male Deputy Inspectors General of Police contrary to the provisions of Section 14(b) by arguing that Kitili was the best man for the job and should not be discriminated against on the basis of gender.
He said a concern as sensitive as security should not and would not take a backseat to affirmative action.
“What happens if there is no woman to take over?” he posed. “As it stands now, there is no senior police woman and therefore that position cannot be left vacant.”
A position endorsed by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority but disputed by the Lichuma-led Commission and other women groups which said Nkaissery’s argument made no sense.
“We can give him a list if he’d like. We also find it ironical when Kenyans are well aware that the choice of the current Inspector General was not on the basis of the best in rank. Why apply different standards for women?” FIDA-Kenya Deputy Executive Director Teresa Omondi challenged.