NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) board has reinstated the authority’s Chief Executive Officer citing an advisory opinion by Attorney General Kihara Karikui’s office.
Maina Njoroge was fired early this month after differences emerged between him and the board Chairperson Anne Makori.
Speaking to Capital News on Friday, Makori said the board was directed by the Attorney General to rescind its decision termed as flawed.
“Whatever action that was taken was in the interest of IPOA, the public and interest to protect and safeguard public resources,” Makori said.
“He will resume his duties and take control of the Secretariat. We have a very professional Secretariat.”
Makori said she is willing to work with Njoroge adding they will adopt better ways to solve any dispute that arises.
The board has come under criticism by civil society actors in recent days over alleged abuse of power and arbitrary actions mostly against the Secretariat.
On Thursday, over 20 human rights organizations called on Parliament to probe the board including how members were recruited.
The NGOs warned of an eminent crisis in IPOA, amid reports that the authority’s board was usurping powers vested with the secretariat.
Under the umbrella of Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya, the NGOs cautioned that some 2,000 cases victims of police excesses are at stake if the wangles persist.
Speaking during a joint press conference, Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) Executive Director Peter Kiama said Kenyans must speak against any contravention of law, in a bid to protect the gains made in the policing sector.
“IPOA board has to act within the law,” Kiama asserted.
The organizations had said the situation was so dire, calling upon the Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security to institute an inquiry on the happenings at the board.
Among the issues they wanted e probed include: “the entire recruitment and appointment process of the current board, and the legality of remuneration and salaries of the current board vis a vis the IPOA Act and other statues, regulations and policies.”
Also, in their list of concerns was an alleged adopted trend by the board members, accused of attempting to transform themselves into commissioners.
“The Parliamentary committee must of necessity investigate and review the circumstances surrounding the Board members posturing as commissioners in public and the change in IPOA’s branding to refer to the board members as commissioners,” the lobby groups said in a joint statement.
“The situation has caused confusion both internally and among stakeholders and should be addressed as a matter of urgency,” Kiama noted while referring to reports that IPOA board members had branded themselves commissioners.
Defenders Coalition’s Program Officer Kamau Ngugi shared Kiama’s concerns saying: “At the board level, there’s a serious crisis, a lot of arbitrary actions in how they are dealing with staff, the Board members are also allocating themselves titles that come with benefits.”
They further urged Parliament to investigate the possible existence of arbitrary use of power by the board.
The IPOA board under the chairpersonship of Makori dismissed the authority’s CEO under unclear circumstances early September.
Unlike the inaugural board led by Macharia Njeru that worked on part time basis, the current one is on full-time terms.