, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – A day after a damning report accused the Kenya police of operating with impunity and running death squads without due regard to the law, President Mwai Kibaki has moved fast to assure of the government’s commitment in reforming the force.
The Head of State said he would fully implement recommendations of the National Task Force established last month to check the police excesses and provide a road map to comprehensive reforms.
“As part of my Government’s commitment to carrying out comprehensive reform process in the police force, I appointed a National Task Force on Police Reforms early this month with the aim of modernising and transforming the Police into a world class policing service,” he said and ordered the police to “strictly operate under the existing laws.”
A report released on Thursday by the Special UN Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial killings, Prof Philip Alston, accuses the police of “disregarding the law and instead resorting to running death squads which kill suspects with impunity.”
But President Kibaki has moved fast to assure of his commitment to restore confidence in the security agency by putting in place what he termed “comprehensive reforms.”
The police task force which began work last month is headed by Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley who is expected to conclude his work and hand over a report in July.
“I urge the stakeholders to submit their views and recommendations to the task force,” President Kibaki said when he officiated the passing out parade of 1,299 recruits at the GSU training school in Embakasi.
While directing the police to deal firmly with criminals, the President stated that police officers “must do so with due regard of the law.”
“We will firmly deal with criminals in accordance with the law and will rely on the police force to achieve this objective. I, therefore, urge officers at all levels to perform their duties with dedication to ensure there is law and order throughout the country,” he said.
And added: “We must be a nation where our people observe the rule of law.”
He further reaffirmed the Government’s commitment in supporting the entire police fraternity in achieving their mandate through provision of adequate resources and acquisition of modern equipment.
The President underscored the need for police officers to uphold regular training to equip themselves with requisite skills to tackle sophisticated criminal activities brought about by technological advancement in the modern society.
The Head of State noted that the current security challenges facing the country such as criminal and commercial cattle rustling gangs must be stamped out without mercy.
“It is, therefore, important that officers keep abreast with emerging trends of crime. This underscores the need for continuous training in order to equip our officers with the tools needed to ensure the security of our nation,” the President observed.
President Kibaki further asked the police officers to protect the image of the police service to inspire public confidence while in the line of duty as outlined in the community policing initiative.
Lately, the image of the police has been dented with stunning revelations made by Prof Alston and also contained in the Waki Commission report which is yet to be acted upon.
Prof Alston, for instance, states in his report that the Kenya Police Force is a security agency that lacks clear policies and proper institutional structures.
Both Prof Alston and the Waki report recommend the immediate sacking of Police Commissioner Maj Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali.
Although the government has dismissed the final report prepared by Prof Alston, his Senior Advisor Sarah Knuckey told Capital News it will be the subject of discussion at the UN Human Rights Council next week.
If adopted, the Kenya Government will then be compelled to implement all the recommendations in it and may be taken up by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Prof Alston will be presenting to the council a detailed report which includes allegations of extra-judicial killings on some 500 Mungiki suspects who were shot or strangled by death squads he said are run by the police.
Maj Gen Ali has repeatedly denied existence of the death squads and accuses Prof Alston of ‘propagating and trading on rumours and propaganda.”