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Karua: Reforms in police force imminent

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – Justice and National Cohesion Minister Martha Karua hinted on Tuesday that the government was planning to overhaul the top management of the police force.

The Minister said the government was committed to instituting what she termed ‘total reforms’ in the security department, to win public confidence.

Ms Karua, who has publicly declared interest in running for the Presidency in 2012 did not, however, state how soon the reforms are expected to come only saying ‘they are fundamental and urgent’.

She said the reforms would be in line with recommendations of the Justice Philip Waki report, which called for a change of guard in the security department ‘because it failed to provide proper leadership during the post election violence’.

Speaking on the Capital in the Morning hosted by the Capital Group’s Programmes Director Seanice Kacungira, the Minister said the reforms were very fundamental and urgent.

Below are excerpts of the interview

Seanice: The Waki report recommended that the entire top police management be overhauled, how soon are we likely to see these reforms?

Karua: It did recommend very fundamental reforms within the police and I think the government is looking at all those, we have started with the tribunal and we are keen. Both the President and the Prime Minister signed an agreement expressing, publicly, their commitment to implement the Waki report, which includes all those details.

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Seanice: Will we see the Administration and Regular police being merged?

Karua: I cannot go to details because the government has to sit and deliberate on how to go about implementing the reforms.

All I can confirm is that the report does recommend fundamental reforms within the police force and there is commitment by the two principles expressed in the agreement to embark on those reforms.

Seanice: And how soon will the necessary legislation to have a tribunal set up to actually try the perpetrators of post election violence be passed by Parliament or be brought in front of Parliament?

Karua: We want to go to the Kamukunji this (Tuesday) morning and get the feeling of MPs on the proposed legislation, after which I will publish the legislation and then it can be debated in Parliament. So we are actually very near there.

Seanice: On the same note, will Cabinet colleagues implicated step down to face trial?

Karua: According to the proposals before Parliament, they are going to be required to step down not when they have been named but after investigations and when charges are laid, and that is our law even. Otherwise, we shouldn’t expect that merely because somebody has been mentioned and before reasonable evidence is presented that that person will step aside.

Seanice: So it is only after reasonable evidence has been gathered against that person?

Karua: And after charges have been laid and you step aside.

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Ms Karua also revealed in her interview that the creation of a Coalition government posed serious constitutional problems that need to be addressed in the upcoming review of the law.

She admitted that the legislation she presented to the House had weaknesses but was necessitated by the urgency of the situation created by a disputed 2007 presidential election result.

“Setbacks must be rectified in fundamental reforms,” she added.

On corruption, the Minister exonerated her Justice Ministry of blame saying it is only in charge of policy but not action.

She said that the Attorney General’s office, police force and other agencies must play their role to enforce the law.


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