, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – The Ministry of Internal Security has come out in strong defense of the Provincial Administration which the Harmonised Draft Constitution proposes should be disbanded.
Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia said on Tuesday that the Ministry was “preparing a strong position to be argued before the Committee of Experts to ensure the Provincial Administration is not scrapped.”
“The Provincial Administration has been tested through history and proved to be viable. We cannot afford to do without it,” Mr Kimemia said at a passing-out parade for senior Administration Police officers at their Embakasi College.
He said the ministry would defend the existence of the Provincial Administration under which the AP officers fall.
The Harmonised Draft Constitution has called for the dissolution of the Provincial Administration whose public officers will be re-deployed by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
In effect, it means all Provincial Commissioners, District Commissioners, District Officers, chiefs and other officers including the Administration Police as a whole will cease to exist.
The draft states in part: “Upon the holding of elections, the system of administration commonly known as the Provincial Administration shall stand dissolved and the national government shall restructure its administrative arrangements to accord with and respect the system of devolved government established under this Constitution.
Public officers formerly serving under the system known as the Provincial Administration shall report to the Public Service Commission for re-deployment.”
The PS expressed opposition to the clause and revealed that even Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti was involved in consultations with other authorities over the matter.
“Even our Minister has been arguing the case in the highest levels,” the PS said.
Prof Saitoti who was present appeared to choose his words carefully only saying, “Indeed the Committee on the constitution at the time of unveiling of that draft did make it clear that that document is not written on stone, and that Kenyans are now at liberty to deliberate on that document (within) 30 days. We are looking into that document and we will be coming out with a position as a government.”
Mr Kimemia who spoke passionately about the Provincial Administration said adopting the proposal to scrap the system of government would amount to destroying “institutions which have proved to be efficient over the years.”
“Lets not just imitate what other countries are doing; lets borrow what is good from them without destroying what we have,” he warned.
Mr Kimemia further pointed out that the existence of the Administration Police was not contentious in other drafts which the Committee of Experts heavily relied upon in preparation of the Harmonised Draft and wondered why it proposed to have it scrapped.
“I wonder why it is contentious now,” he said and added that the “APs are instrumental to the Provincial Administration in discharging their mandate and the Provincial Administration is core in assisting the government coordinate its functions.”
He said that since the inception of the AP in 1902, the AP had remained loyal, patriotic and closest to the people at the grassroots.
“AP is the face of the government, we are not happy with the proposal to scrap it,” he said and reiterated the government’s commitment to implement the Ransley report to the letter.
The Justice Philip Ransley report which was presented to President Mwai Kibaki last month proposed to retain the Administration Police under the Provincial Administration and dismissed calls to have the force merged with the regular police.
The President at the time announced that the government would fully adopt the report which called for far reaching reforms in the security sectors.
On Tuesday, Mr Kimemia said the proposals in the Harmonised Draft Constitution were contradicting most of the clauses in the Ransley report which the government has already undertaken to implement.