, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Interviews for the post of chairperson of the National Police Service Commission kicked off Thursday, with six applicants grilled by a panel set up to select candidates.
Bernard Mbai and lawyer Byram Ongaya were among the first candidates who appeared before the commission and were taken to task by the Hassan Omar Hassan-led panel to explain why they believe they are best suited to head the national police service commission.
One of the panel members lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi took Ongaya to task over his experience in the public service where he has served for seven years after serving at a private law firm.
Abdullahi was particularly concerned that at 35, Ongaya was too young and inexperienced to head the police commission.
“You want to tell this panel that we should entrust a constitutional commission that will be in charge of members of the disciplined force with a 35-year-old man who has worked four years as an associate with Mwenesi and Company advocates and as a lawyer with the Public Service commission and to whom only two lawyers report to, are you really serious?” Ahmednasir posed in challenging the applicant’s Curriculum vitae.
In response, Ongaya pleaded with the panel to assess his CV and make a decision based on his experience which he described as “vast”.
“Indeed I have urged this panel to carefully assess my CV and I have shown that my span of control and function relates to the public service commission; it has not been a hierarchical service but a service with government persons and departments and that is my CV demonstrates.”
Abdullahi: A 35-year-old lawyer nobody has heard of, don’t you think there will be mutiny in the police force?
Ongaya: Age is not a factor. My CV is testimony.
Abdullahi: Are you looking for a job?
Ongaya: I am not looking for a job. I want to serve this country. I am competent to serve as chairman of the commission. Age should not be a factor.
Abdullahi: Are you farmiliar with budgetary estimates for law enforcement agencies? For instance what is the budgetary allocation for the AP?
Ongaya: I don’t know it in my finger tips but I know it has been increasing over the years.
Abdullahi: How much do police officers earn, like a constable?
Ongaya: They earn Sh 20,000 to Sh 35,000.
Abdullahi who is also a member of the Judicial Service Commission sought to know if Ongaya knows what a balance sheet and what is meant by the terms Cash Equivalent.
He also asked him the process of preparing the police budget.
Ongaya told the panel the police budget estimates are prepared by the Inspector General and his two deputies
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia who also sits in the vetting panel sought to know what priorities the applicants will have if appointed to head the national police service commission.
Hassan Omar Hassan of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights who chairs the vetting panel asked Ongaya if he was farmiliar with terms such as ‘afande’ often used in the police circles.
The panel vetted six candidates on Thursday and was expected to vet the remaining five on Friday.
“It is our considered view that this is one of the most powerful commissions under the new Constitution and due diligence must be followed to the letter in selecting its chairman and members,” Hassan told a press conference at the Public Service Commission when he released the names of short listed candidates last week.
He said the panel had received 21 applicants but short listed 11 to be interviewed before their names are submitted to Parliament for further scrutiny.
“This is a six-year full time job and that is why before we give it to anybody, we have to have satisfied ourselves that we have exhausted any reasonable measure towards ensuring that we have given all Kenyans a chance to participate,” he said of the commission which will have powers to hire the country’s first Inspector General to take over leadership of police service management from Mathew Iteere.
The commission shall also recruit two deputies to the Inspector General, one to head the Administration Police and another to head the regular police.
It will also hire the new director of the Criminal Investigations Department and will have express powers to undertake police promotions and transfers as outlined in the National Police Service Act as well as develop a police training curriculum.
Currently, the Police Commissioner wields immense powers of transferring police officers of all ranks under him among other responsibilities.
Other short listed candidates include Dr Migudo Winja, Amina R. Masoud, Dr. Erick K. Bor, Dr Hulda K. Ogoti, Murshid A. Mohamed and Margret K. Cheboiywo.
Others are Johnson M. Kavuludi, Jean N. Kamau and Mumo Mwatemu who was nominated by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday to chair the ethics and anti corruption commission effectively locking him out of the police job.