NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – Parliament has approved the National Police Service Bill with amendments, the first of three security Bills to be passed.
Among the amendments approved by MPs includes insertion of a clause stating that only the National Assembly will be charged with vetting the appointment of the Inspector General.
MPs argued that the National Assembly and not the Senate would be better placed to handle the matter even though both Houses play an oversight role to the Executive.
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo as well as Chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee Abdikadir Mohammed said that it would be duplicating the role by subjecting the candidates to vetting by both Houses.
Another amendment removed the need for parliamentary vetting for the two deputy Inspector Generals.
Once enacted into law, the new legislation will set the stage for the replacement of the entire police leadership in line with the new Constitution.
Article 254 under Chapter 14 of the Constitution states that there shall be the office of the Inspector General of the National Police Service.
“The Inspector General is appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament and shall exercise independent command over the National Police Service, and perform any other functions prescribed by the national legislation,” the Constitution states.
It also states that the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service shall each be headed by a Deputy Inspector-General appointed by the President in accordance with the recommendation of the National Police Service Commission.
Currently, the Kenya Police is headed by the Commissioner of Police who does not have authority over the Administration Police.
Under the new law, the Inspector General shall be appointed for a single four-year-term, and is not eligible for re-appointment like has been the case in the past.
The holder of the office of the Inspector General will be required to uphold the new Constitution and risks being removed from office if he or she violates the new law.
“The Inspector-General may be removed from office by the President only on the grounds of serious violation of this Constitution or any other law, including a contravention of Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity,” Article 245 (7) of the new Constitution states.
Gross misconduct whether in the performance of the office holder’s functions or otherwise, physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions and incompetence may also get the Inspector General out of office.
Other reasons which can get the Inspector General out of office include bankruptcy and any other just cause.
Other than the National Police Service, the Bills passed by the Cabinet last week also pave the way for the establishment for the National Police Service Commission.
The commission will consist of persons, each appointed by the President, who must be qualified to be appointed as a High Court Judge, two retired senior police officers and three persons of integrity who have served the public with distinction.
The Inspector General of the National Police Service and both his two deputies will also serve in the commission.
Under the new Constitution, the commission shall recruit and appoint persons to hold or act in offices in the service, confirm appointments, and determine promotions and transfers within the National Police Service.
They will also be responsible for “observing due process, exercise disciplinary control over and remove persons holding or acting in offices within the Service and perform any other functions prescribed by national legislation.”
Article 246 demands that the composition of the National Police Service shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.