, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has finally bowed to pressure to allow a section of officers pursuing higher education to proceed with their studies.
Sources at Vigilance House told Capital News that Mr Iteere has only allowed officers in their third and fourth year to complete their studies but restricted those in their first and second year from attending their evening classes.
There has been simmering disquiet mainly by General Service Unit (GSU) personnel who were recently barred from pursuing higher education on grounds that it was jeopardising their work.
“There is general consensus that those remaining with one to two years to finish (university) should proceed with their studies,” a senior officer with knowledge of the Commissioner’s decision said.
“But those who have just joined or are in their second years, will have to wait, at least for now.”
Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe was not immediately available to comment on the contentious issue, which has caused ripples in the police ranks.
Up to 500 or more police officers were affected by the directive which was communicated from the Commissioner’s office last month. A number of senior officers are also affected.
The directive was based on the grounds that “too many police officers were attending evening classes” even when they are required to work.
Some, mainly those attached in Nairobi have been resisting to be transferred to other stations upcountry because of their engagements in school, thus complicating the three-year standard rule which governs police transfers.
“This issue of some junior police officers attending evening programmes is making our work more complicated because the number is increasing by day and they don’t want to be re-deployed,” a senior police officer at a city station said.
He told Capital News that four police officers had enrolled for the Privately Self Sponsored Programmes in universities within Nairobi.
A bulk of the officers pursuing degree programmes are undertaking classes at the University of Nairobi, Moi University’s satellite campus in Nairobi, Kenyatta University, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Daystar University.
There are also those attending the Kenya Polytechnic University College and other private colleges for various Diploma and Certificate courses.
Some of the officers affected by the police commissioners’ directive and and who have not been allowed to pursue their education told Capital News that they were considering quitting the police force altogether.
“Unless the commissioner makes an all-inclusive decision to accommodate all of us, we will quit. I don’t understand why someone would want to stop us from going to school,” a police officer undertaking a degree programme at a local university said.
Others questioned why Mr Iteere was barring officers from pursuing higher education, yet he is the one who approved application of some of the officers when he was heading the GSU.
“I have spent nearly Sh200,000 in my first and second year study, this break is going to affect me because my academic programme has been interfered with,” the officer who cannot be named, for fear of being portrayed as undisciplined, said.
On average, it costs between Sh650,000 and Sh850,000 to complete a privately sponsored degree programme in both private and public universities in Kenya.