NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 10 – The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) Chairman Macharia Njeru says his team is finalising plans to formally start work by November 1.
Njeru said they were currently setting up their organisational structure before they can commence their task.
“We are now setting up our base, there is a lot happening and this is much to do with laying the ground, we should be ready to kick off by November 1,” Njeru told Capital FM News in an interview.
Currently, the authority is operating from a temporary office at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) as it prepares to secure its own office.
“We will follow the laid down procurement procedure in getting our offices because we are an independent organisation,” he said.
The authority will also hire staff, including investigators to assist in working out cases of complaints arising from the public.
“We are actually starting from scratch, we must get investigators and these ones are going to be hired by us. We will not have them seconded to us by the government because that way our independence will be compromised,” he said.
Its investigators will largely comprise of fresh graduates from universities to be assisted by a small fraction of experienced ones who will be hired competitively.
With a budget of Sh96 million allocated in this financial year, Njeru said the authority is ready to start working with it although the money will not be enough.
“The budget given to us is not enough, but this is not going to stop us from starting our work, we will work with this budget but we will put in a request for more at a later stage during the supplementary budget,” he said.
Njeru said they intend to start with complaints relating to serious injuries and deaths caused by police officers to ensure Kenyans get justice.
“This will be the beginning; already we have received numerous complaints and more are coming in by the day, we will deal with all the cases but for now these are the ones we intend to start with,” he said.
The cases comprise complaints filed by members of the public on arbitrary shootings which have resulted in serious injuries and deaths.
Before the authority was established as provided for in the new Constitution, the police did not have an oversight body to check on its excesses.
“We are determined to change the face of the police, they will have to change their way of doing things. There is no option,” he said.
Njeru said any police officer or group of officers who are not prepared to change, will have a very difficult time in the force because Kenyans want change.
“There is no two ways about it, we will run any police officer who does not want to change out of town, it is not going to be business as usual,” he vowed.
Already, IPOA is engaging the government on the need to urgently put in place the National Police Service Commission.
“We have a subcommittee that is engaging the relevant authorities on this matter because it is absolutely important in the police reforms,” he said and assured his team will also work out to ensure the forthcoming police recruitment exercise is carried out in a fair and transparent manner in order to restore public confidence in the police and the country’s security management.
The national recruitment is due to be carried out in September.