NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – Parliament’s committee on National Security and Administration has rejected amendments to the National Police Service Commission Act which proposes to give the President unilateral powers to dismiss and appoint the Inspector-General of police.
Committee Members Dalmas Otieno, Ababu Namwamba and Alice Wahome objected, saying the proposal would claw back on the gains made so far in reforming the police service.
“Why is it necessary for the Executive to change the open and transparent way we had adopted,” Otieno asked. “Why do you want to subject the appointment of the new IG to the whims of cliques around the President?”
“I prefer a situation where we have members of the public can participate and they can present memorandum on the suitability of the applicants to the office of the IG,” he said.
They instead proposed the establishment an independent selection panel which will shortlist the IG nominees and submit it to President for appointment.
“We don’t want to return to the era where a clique within the force or elsewhere met and decided to pick on their cronies to lead the Police Service. We want to appointments to be fair, competitive and based on merit,” stated committee Chairman Asman Kamama.
Attorney General Githu Muigai who was represented at the meeting by Parliamentary Counsel with the State Law Office Marion Muriuki had stated that the House proposal saying the President will appoint the IG upon receiving nominees from the Public Service Commission.
“The change was proposed by the IG because he left like he was he was subordinate to the commission. He said he wanted to be appointed like the other disciplined services leaders,” Muriuki said.
The MPs have further proposed that Parliament will have 14 days to approve President’s recommendation for the dismissal of the IG in order to ensure a fair and just hearing.
The President will be required to make a decision on the petition presented to him in seven days and if he concurs that the allegations have merit he will suspend the IG and appoint one of the Deputy Inspector-General to act as the IG for a minimum of three months.
“The idea is to allow the President to make a quick decision on this issue because it touches on the disciplined forces. We are trying to remove that the indefinite vacuum that may be left in the command structure,” explained Kamama.
The MPs agreed with the AG that there would be a conflict of interest if the National Police Service Commission handled the petition because the IG is a member.
The Amendment Bill proposes that the President can fire the IG after receiving petition on challenging the suitability of the IG to continue holding the office.
The committee also adopted the establishment of the proposed Police Service Board but rejected the proposal in the Act which would have allowed the Inspector-General powers to co-opt an undetermined number of experts into the board which will be mandated to provide a forum for the IG and his deputies to strategies on service regulations, promotions, transfers among other administrative functions.
The House team instead decided to limit the members of the board to five. It will now consist of the IG, his two deputies (from the Regular and Administration Police Services), Director of the Criminal Investigation Department and the overall senior officer in charge of human resource at the National Police Service headquarters.