NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – The Inspector General of police has only operational powers according to the former Chairman of Committee of Experts on constitutional review, Nzamba Kitonga.
He says massive powers that were held by Commissioners of Police have been abolished under the new Constitution, which designated the country’s top cop as Inspector General of Police.
Kitonga, who addressed journalists on Friday, said the National Police Service Commission in which the Inspector General of Police and his two deputies serve as members, is empowered to deal with policy and management of the National Police Service.
“The court has properly interpreted the Constitution on what the powers of IG are and the commission and we should obey that,” he said.
He explained: “It is not what the framers of the Constitution wanted, it’s what Kenyans wanted. They felt there was too much power in the former office of Commissioner of Police and that why we came up with this formulation.”
“The IG has operational powers to arrest insecurity but at policy and management levels, he is assisted by the commission.”
He attributed the misunderstanding to lack of acceptance that the country was now under a new Constitution.
“I think there will be no problem if people learn to understand that this is a new era that we have to run things in a different manner…I think we will be able to accommodate each other that way,” he pointed out.
“It is not that the Constitution has a problem, we need to understand there are new systems in place and we need to obey them.”
Chairman of the Commission on Administrative Justice, Otiende Amollo said under the new Constitution, there was no sole decision making by individuals without consultation.
“We intentionally moved away from the individual exercise of power which had brought about imperialism,” he said.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has been criticized for making changes affecting 55 officers countrywide without involving the Johnsonte Kavuludi-led NPSC.
On Thursday, the High Court ruled that even though Kimaiyo had no powers to unilaterally effect transfers of members of the Police Service, he could only do so temporarily to ensure there was no vacuum.
Kimaiyo has since said he will file an appeal against a ruling issued on Thursday that declared he has no powers to appoint or transfer County Police Commanders.
Kimaiyo says he will ask the Attorney General to study the court order and institute an appeal to overturn the decision.
“There is leeway for the National Police Service through the office of the Attorney General to move to the next step and as per the law, the next step is to make an appeal and that is what we are doing at the moment,” Kimaiyo said.
He however made it clear that the service was committed to obeying court orders.