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Changes looming at Kenya police

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Kenya’s newly appointed Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere is engaged in a rigorous exercise of drawing up a list for an impending reshuffle that could affect almost all departments of the police.

A source familiar with his diary told Capital News that Mr Iteere has been putting together a list that will fill positions that were left vacant when he was appointed earlier in the week.

And the impending reshuffle has yet again triggered anxiety and lobbying amongst senior police officers who are now trying to re-align themselves with the new guard at Vigilance House.

The most urgent changes he reportedly intends to announce soon include his own replacement at the General Service Unit (GSU), North Eastern Provincial Police chief and the deputy PPO of Nairobi.

Mr Jonathan Kosgey who headed the North Eastern Province was promoted by President Mwai Kibaki and re-deployed to Police Headquarters to oversee reforms.

Also promoted and transferred is Julius Ndegwa who was the deputy PPO in Nairobi. He is now the head of Police Operations at Vigilance House.

"These are very key positions and for the new commissioner to fill them, it means there has to be a serious reshuffle that would affect almost all the departments, mainly at the higher ranks," a senior at Vigilance House said.

Another officer close to the new commissioner said the reshuffle is scheduled to take place before the end of the month.

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A senior officer who attended a meeting the new Commissioner held at Police Headquarters on Friday said the anticipated changes would affect most officers from the rank of Superintendent and above.

Most of those holding that rank are likely to be promoted and re-deployed to head various departments.

"There will be major changes the commissioner has already begun looking into that issue, we expect the changes in two weeks time, It is unlikely to reach end month before they are announced," the source said.

It is understood Mr Iteere has already summoned the files of some of the senior officers touted to fill the vacant positions and is in fact studying them before he makes the final choice.

"He is looking into files of up to ten senior officers, both at police headquarters and those working elsewhere including at the formation command posts," the source added.

Since his appointment, the source said, Mr Iteere has been working closely with officers at the personnel department to have the positions filled “as soon as possible.

And speculation is rife that Mr Iteere would name the Head of the Presidential Escort Benson Kibue to replace him at the GSU.

Insiders revealed that other possible candidates for the GSU post are Western PPO King’ori Mwangi, Eastern PPO Marcus Ochola, David Kimaiyo of the Small Arms Secretariat among others.

Multiple interviews by Capital News with senior police officers revealed that they are proposing Charlton Mureithi of the Personnel Department of the Police as the best replacement at the Presidential Escort, incase Mr Kibue is moved.

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That is the feeling because Mr Mureithi has previously served at the GSU. He has the experience required," one of the sources said.

Many officers interviewed by Capital News said they are opposed to the deputy GSU commandant assuming the vacant position left at the top for various reasons, including what they termed ‘lack of adequate experience for the job.’

"It is now up to the new commissioner to decide because he has been given proposals and is now considering them," a source said.

Another source hinted that Erick Kiraithe was likely to be replaced as Police Spokesman.

His deputy Superintendent Charles Wahong’o is likely to take over if Mr Iteere considers the proposals given to him by senior officers close to him.

"It is not that he is opposed to Mr Kiraithe staying on as Police Spokesman. It is because there is a general feeling that there is need for physical reforms at police headquarters," another source said and disclosed that Mr Kiraithe was likely to be re-deployed to the Banking Fraud Investigations Department (BFID).

However, we learnt that other senior officers are lobbying to have Mr Kiraithe promoted and made a Provincial Police chief on grounds that he is fit in the operations.

The Commissioner announced Thursday that he is scheduled to meet all the Provincial Police chiefs and formation commanders on Monday and Tuesday and thereafter address a press conference.

Sources said the commissioner intends to use the meeting to outline his vision and highlight his strategy of fighting crime.

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