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Hassan Omar gestures/FILE


Process to hire new police chief faces snag

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – It may take longer for the police to get a new Inspector General under the new Constitution due to the postponement of interviews for members of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

On Tuesday, a panel set up to select members to sit in the commission that will be responsible for hiring the country’s Inspector General were called off because two members had already left their nominating bodies, after their terms expired.

Former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Hassan Omar Hassan said the interviews could not proceed because his term had expired alongside that of Okong’o Omogeni who represented the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (now known as the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission).

“The selection panel having considered the expiry of terms of office of two of its members from their nominating bodies has resolved to postpone the interviews,” Hassan, who is the panel’s chairman said.

He said the panel had written to the Attorney General for interpretation and advice on what should happen regarding the two positions.

“It is a matter that needs to be dispensed within the shortest time possible because the continued delay in putting in place the Police Service Commission will hold up the much needed reforms in the police,” Hassan told reporters on Tuesday.

Omogeni did not attend Tuesday’s meeting because he is out of the country.

Other members of the panel include Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia (Internal Security), Caroli Omondi (Chief of Staff – Prime Minister’s office) and Ahmednassir Abdullahi of the Judicial Service Commission among others.

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At the end of last year, the commission carried out interviews for candidates wishing to chair the commission and some of them were among 34 listed for the interviews which were postponed.

Those interviewed at the time include Bernard Mbai, lawyer Byram Ongaya, 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.

The panel was expected to make public their best choice for the chairperson’s post and members once the interviews called off on Tuesday are completed.

Once established, the commission will be responsible for hiring 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 (CID) 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.

The current police command has publicly opposed what it terms as ‘obsession by the commission and the panel to hire a civilian to head the police.’

CID director Ndegwa Muhoro and deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino have objected to the hiring of a civilian, with the latter going to extremes of threatening mutiny in the police force should the Inspector General’s post go to a civilian.

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