, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – A strong National Police Service is vital if the country is to remain stable before, during and after the August 8 General Election.
Speaking when he presided over the graduation ceremony of more than 3,000 General Service Unit (GSU) police recruits in Embakasi on Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the police service needs to remain firm and quell any attempt to stir violence by those who have no regard for the rule of law.
“The need for a strong police service is further heightened by the reality that we’re in an election year. Tragically we have a history replete with scenes which in a democratic process that should be a cause for celebrations sometimes degenerate into deadly violence,” President Kenyatta noted.
Although the country has recovered from the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV) that led to displacement of over 500,000 and the killing of close to 1,500 people, President Kenyatta warned that care needed to be taken to prevent the country from slipping back to the dark days.
“I know we’ve made tremendous progress since the painful experience of 2007 in stabilising our nation but we must always remain on our guard,” he told the recruits.
He said the new security officers will be deployed across the country to tame incidents of violence and apprehend those who contravene the law.
“Soon you will be deployed across the country to eliminate security threats, apprehend criminals, diffuse tense situations between groups and restore peace,” he said.
President Kenyatta observed that criminal groups were out to “subvert the law and commit crimes in the name of addressing grievances” urging the police to respond swiftly to prevent such occurrences.
He warned that the government will not allow politicians to make reckless remarks which may lead to skirmishes and bloodletting as witnessed during the 2007/2008 PEV.
“There are some individual who have for reasons best known to them, vested interests in violence. We together must spurn their ideologies and stand firm against their advances,” he said.
“We must be vigilant to keep the sparks of reckless rhetoric, hate speech, idle talk from evolving into furious fire of political violence,” he added.
According to President Kenyatta, the Jubilee Administration has continued to invest heavily on security to spur the country’s economic growth by boasting the confidence investors have in the nation.
Investor confidence, he said, remains key to achieving sustainable economic growth.
“I have laboured on this matter because experience worldwide has shown that it is only secure, stable nations that have succeeded in achieving and sustaining shared prosperity,” he noted.
The nation’s leader however urged the police to execute their duties with a commitment to equity and justice saying the government will offer them adequate support to discharge their mandate.
“Your success is primarily in embracing the high call to protect and serve your people with humility, diligence and excellence as well as a commitment to justice.”
He urged the new recruits to be fair to all Kenyans regardless of their ethnic, social or political standing.
“You must act in ways that are reasonable and right, fair-minded and lawful, practical and not just popular,” he counselled the recruits.
He assured the men and women charged with maintaining law and order in the country that his administration will not relent in ensuring that their terms and conditions of service are continuously improved.
“We will ensure your welfare is catered for and we will continue to ensure you have access to the resources you need so that you can effectively deliver on your mandate,” the Head of State said.
He said the implementation of a health insurance programme, construction of police houses and modernization of police equipment was one of the avenues through which the police service will be reformed.
The government, according to President Kenyatta, is committed to continued enjoyments with the security officers to help it better understand and respond to their needs.
So far, over 43,000 new police officers have been hired since Jubilee came to power, with this number expected to hit the 50,000 mark before the year ends.