, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – It is exactly one year since Ndegwa Muhoro was appointed to head the Criminal Investigations Department, which is quickly regaining its lost glory.
He was plucked from the Nairobi-based Kenya Police Staff College in Loresho on August 24, 2010 to replace Gatiba Karanja who died after a short illness. The position had remained vacant for three months.
A year later, the country’s top investigator says he believes he has made a difference at the CID headquarters which was once tainted due to failure to crack cases.
Kenyans were slowly losing confidence with the unit that is charged with tracking down criminals and their activities.
When President Mwai Kibaki appointed him, there was some discontent amongst officers of all ranks, with many saying they were not sure if Mr Muhoro was to make it because he had little or no experience at all on investigations, having spent much of his career in departments outside the CID.
All this has passed and Mr Muhoro is firmly in charge and proving his critics wrong.
To many, it was a surprise given that his name had not featured publicly as among the top contenders for the vacant post of Director of the Criminal Investigations Department.
Prior to his appointment, Muhoro was the Commandant of the Kenya Police Staff College, Loresho.
Interviews with CID officers of various ranks and departments said they were impressed with the reorganization of the CID’s key operational units to make them more effective.
“Since he came here, Mr Muhoro has also initiated the review of the CID Training School curriculum which has trained more than 1,000 officers in CID who had no investigative training,” one senior CID officer said.
He has also conducted a scoping study for the department with support from the UK National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and Interpol Lyon, fast tracking the building of the forensic capacity – development of a forensic curriculum in conjunction with Kenyatta University, procurement of APFIS and IBIS 3D track and opening of additional CID offices informed by specific needs of certain areas.
Mr Muhoro also takes credit for having deployed criminal intelligence officers up to the District level to increase their policing level.
In an interview with Capital News,
Mr Muhoro called for more support and allocation of resources from the government so as to enhance services delivery at the CID headquarters.
Mr Muhoro came to office at a critical time of transition at both national and the larger police service.
In line with the new Constitution, security agencies, the CID included, are set to undergo a major transformational change whose upshot may result in compromising some senior officers’ careers.
This according to insiders has negatively affected anticipated reform progress as officers position themselves for positions at the expense of their work.
With a workforce of up to 4,000 officers, the CID is no doubt one of the largest departments of the police.
When he was appointed, Mr Muhoro who held the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police and was immediately promoted three ranks ahead to Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police to befit the office he took over.
At the time, there were murmurs of discontent, with critiques within the force arguing that he may not be able to succeed to lead the CID. A year on, Mr Muhoro has proved his critiques wrong.
In contrast to the critics’ claims,
Mr Muhoro’s background and grounding in police training was his added advantage in addition to his disciplined track record, a key requirement in any successful senior police officer.
“I have also played a key role in implementing key reforms within the police force,’ Mr Muhoro said.
Prior to his appointment, Mr Muhoro served at the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) between 2001 and 2003, he is reckoned to have displayed high standards of performance that saw his elevation into the position of the Deputy Commissioner of UN Police in the mission.
He was one of the key police personalities in the restructuring and retraining of the Sierra Leone Police.
“Mr Muhoro is a progressive career officer with great insights on professionalism, IT driven performance and modern intelligent policing. He has made great difference at the CID,” one officer at CID headquarters said.
Even though he denies existence of any form of sabotage or resistance from some of his officers, independent claims suggests he is being fought by those from within and without with vested interests.
Mr Muhoro contends that the department is not going to easily succeed in achieving its policing mandate or ensuring most crimes are solved within a reasonable period with all factors remaining constant as before.
“These officers need facilitation through provision of transport; communication and equipment to enable them address some of these crimes, especially the more serious and organi sed crimes,” Mr Muhoro said adding that “As long as we do not have an integrated forensic service, enough vehicles and other tools, things will not be smooth for us. There is a huge need to embrace modern investigative techniques that relies more on science that traditional evidence.”
In this interview, he describes his one-year in office as being successful, quickly attributing most of the gains to his officers in the field.
“My officers are the ones who with diligence do the collection, tabulation and general profiling of criminals and associated criminal activities. They risk their lives on a day to day basis, they deserve recognition,” Muhoro says.
Mr Muhoro says he is determined to transform the CID to a strictly professional, responsive and more ethically driven outfit to meet the needs and expectations of the public.The CID chief said the department is in dire need of modern equipment that will enable detectives crack serious crimes.
“We do not have a forensic lab complete with fingerprinting technology and modern DNA equipment, these are issues that need to be tackled urgently because they are critical in our work,” he said.
The government had planned to construct a modern forensic laboratory at a cost of Sh1 billion but it did not succeed because the project was embroiled in the Anglo-Leasing scandal.
Plans are at an advanced stage to have the APFIS and IBIS 3D track equipments in place. Under the Vision 2030, the government has identified the forensic lab as one of the key flagship projects for the security agencies.