NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 27 – Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery is proposing an amendment to the law seeking to disband the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
Nkaissery says the two institutions headed by Johnstone Kavuludi and Macharia Njeru respectively are an impediment to the efficient delivery of the mandate and vision entrusted to the National Police Service.
“We cannot have civilians commanding uniformed people. It cannot happen, it has never happened anywhere in the world. It is only the activists and civil society which brought this law and it is what is affecting the command structure,” he said.
“We can even scrap it!”
The retired military Major-General also wants the next Inspector-General of police to be a person with experience in the security sector to enable him to deal effectively with the raising challenges of insecurity.
Nkaissery added; “If someone has grown up in the system, Inspector, Superintendent, Senior Superintendent, assistant commissioner, commissioner then IG, that chain of command is clearly in the system. If we have such a person in the service that would be the ideal person to become an IG but if there is none, in good leadership I think the President must be allowed to decide.”
The Police Commission has been at loggerheads with the outgoing IG David Kimaiyo over appointments, deployments, vetting and transfers of police officers. The NPSC has objected to the transfer of the police officers and stated that transfer and promotion of policemen was the work of NPSC and not the IG.
Unlike its predecessor, the Commissioner of Police, the IG is not the sole player in the command of the police service.
This clash often led to the intervention of the then Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia and Parliamentarians who moved amendments to the National Police Service Commission Act and National Police Service Act seeking to clearly outline the responsibilities of Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and that of the NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi to avoid incessant clashes between the two and curb escalating insecurity in the country.
In reviewing the Acts, the MPs observed that the two offices ought to work harmoniously to enable them deliver on their mandates effectively.
Ambiguous Articles in the Constitution have been used to fan the tussle.
Article 245(2) (b) of the Constitution says that the Inspector General shall exercise independent command over the National Police Service; meaning that the IG shall be the head of and authority over the police.
Article 245 (4) (c) further reinforces the IG’s command by stating that no person (except the Cabinet Secretary in charge and Director of Public Prosecutions) directs the IG in performance of his duties including: employment, assignment, promotion, suspension or dismissal of the any members of the National Police Service.
On the other hand, there is the NPSC which the Constitution, under Article 246 (3)(a) gives powers to among others: 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.