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KENYA’S NEW POLICE CHIEF APPOINTMENT – VITAL TO GET IT RIGHT

NPSC STARTS SELECTION FOR POLICE INSPECTOR GENERAL

NSPC Chairman Johnston Kavuludi

The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) is in the process of interviewing 27 candidates for the job of Kenya Police Service chief, or Inspector General, a task they should complete today, followed by the short listing of candidates for deputy positions by November 17. Thereafter, according to Commission chairman Johnston Kavuludi, the NPSC will announce the name of the winning candidates in early December for approval by parliament, before those selected are put to a vote of the Kenyan people.

It looks like a fair, transparent and democratic process which without question in many ways it is but the Kenya Forum has concerns about the process and some of the people involved.

Ultimately the successful candidates will have a vital role to play in getting Kenya out of the mire of police corruption, illegality and incompetence without which Kenya’s new constitution will be all but worthless. Getting the selections right is important to us all.

27 CANDIDATES

Those up in front of the NPSC panel for the top job of police chief include Grace Kaindi, currently head of the Kenya Airports Police Unit; Swaleh Slim Khalid, a former CID officer; Hassan Noor Hassan, former Provisional Commissioner for the Rift Valley; Joseph Ashmalla, former Rift Valley police boss; former GSU commandant David Kimiyo; lawyer John Patrick Odweng Owino; Peter Macharia Mwangi, a senior official with the Witness Protection Unit; Eric Kiraithe, a ‘Police Spokesman’; and Mary Oyugi Kaol from Interpol at CID headquarters.

CLEARANCE CERTIFICATES

To try and ensure that these candidates and the others are fit at least to be interviewed in the first place, the NPSC has insisted that each present clearance certificates from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Higher Education Loans Board, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) and provide a ‘certificate of good conduct’.

Let’s just hold it there for a moment.

‘CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT’ – PRICE SH10,000!

A Nairobi businessman told the Kenya Forum recently, and his story is by no means an isolated one, of the manner in which he gained a ‘certificate of good conduct’.

The businessman was completing his annual company returns. He had everything in place. He had paid all the taxes he was due to pay and had a certificate from the KRA to prove it. All other documentation was in place and duly stamped. He went to get his ‘certificate of good conduct’. The official dealing with the issuing of the certificate knew that he would be unable to complete his return without it: so ironically, to get the ‘certificate of good conduct’, after everything else had been done legally and above board, cost the said businessmen a bribe of Sh10,000!

So the process of selecting the new police chiefs is, or could be, in part flawed.

INTERVIEWS GET UNDER WAY

Friday marked day one of the interviews.

GRACE KAINDI – SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER?

Grace Kaindi, boss of Kenya Airports Police Unit

Up before the NPSC was Grace Kaindi, ‘Kenya airport police boss’ who told the commission that she had enough experience to do the job of Kenya Police Service chief.

Well it would seem on paper that Ms Kaindi does have enough experience. She rose through the ranks to become a deputy commissioner and served as Director of Complaints at police headquarters, then Nyanza police chief, before becoming head of the airport police.

It is a bit unfair but let us just consider Grace Kaindi as a potential chief of the Police Service.

JKIA BRIBERY POINT

Leaving aside how the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007-08 was handled, Kenyans who use Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) will know that the security at the main gates is not really a check point, it is a bribery point.

Either Ms Kaindi has not known this during her tenure as airport police boss, in which she could stand accused of incompetence, or she did know in which case she has been, er… incompetent at best, because the bribery point is still working on a daily basis.

It is unfair to single out Grace Kaindi for criticism, so let’s look at some other candidates.

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

Hassan Noor Hassan, former Rift Valley Commissioner

Former Rift Valley PC Hassan Noor Hassan was in charge in his region at the time of the PEV in 2007-08 and in relation to PEV so was another candidate Mr David Kimaiyo, then a director of operations at police headquarters. Both were taken to task by the NPSC as to their handling of PEV, and quite rightly too.

ANTI CORRUPTION?

What about Swaleh Slim, security chief at Kenya Airways who before that appointment was a director with the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC)?

Surely the Kenya Forum readers know of all those people brought to justice by the KACC? Of all those corrupt policemen and City Council of Nairobi officials sacked for corruption? No?

Enough of the sarcasm, let’s leave it to the NPSC, parliament and the people but not before the Kenya Forum makes one more suggestion.

TRY AN OUTSIDER?

Corruption is rife and endemic in our country at all levels. Unless it is purged we will have great difficulty in progressing. So how about, for a transition period, appointing police chiefs from other countries? Not from the UK (too reminiscent of colonialism), not from the USA (they already try to boss us around too much) but how about from Denmark, Ghana, Germany, Finland, Sweden, South Africa, Switzerland…

Worth a thought? Kofi Annan at loose end, does anyone know?

President Kenyatta declared winner.

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