Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kibaki moves Ali, names new Kenya police boss

Major General Hussein Ali addresses a news conference during the handing over ceremony at Vigilance House on September 8, 2009. The new Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere is on the left. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

Major General Hussein Ali addresses a news conference during the handing over ceremony at Vigilance House on September 8, 2009. The new Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere is on the left. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE 

By ANTHONY KARIUKI

President Kibaki has named Mr Mathew Iteere the new Police Commissioner in a wide-ranging reshuffle on Tuesday.

Major General Hussein Ali, the previous bearer of that office, has been moved to the Postal Corporation of Kenya as its Chief Executive.

Mr Iteere was the former General Service Unit Commandant.

Ali’s former deputy Mr Lawrence Mwandime is the new Senior Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock Development.

"The changes take effect immediately," said a statement from President Kibaki’s office.

The President also named Mr Simeon Karanja Gatiba as the Director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Mr Peter Eregai to be his deputy.

In other changes within the police force, President Kibaki appointed the following: Mr Francis Omondi Okonya as Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police I, Mr Julius Kangara Ndegwa, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police II, in charge of Operations and Mr Jonathan Kipkurui Koskei, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police II, in charge of Reforms.

Other appointees are: Mr Bakari Omar Jambeni, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police II, in charge of Logistics, Mr Peter Kilonzo Kavila, Senior Deputy Commissioner II and Commandant Kiganjo Police Training College

Dr Cyrus Njiru, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade has been moved to that of Transport while Abdulrazaq Aden Ali takes over from Mr Njiru.

Maj-Gen Ali has headed the force for nearly six years and his removal could have come as a result of a report on Police Reforms.

The team headed by retired judge Philip Ransley blames the blames the police for inefficiency, rampant corruption and human rights abuses, among other ills.

"It was apparent that the normal procedures provided for under the Force Standing Orders has been disregarded in the area of discipline, transfers and promotions, leaving the provincial commanders in disarray," reads part of the Ransley's report.

It adds: "Corruption within the police is widespread and endemic. The tolerance levels for corruption for all ranks are unacceptably high."

Mr Justice Ransley's team also noted that the investigative function of the police had weakened and attributed it to "reduced operational autonomy of the CID, transfer practices and reactive fire-fighting approach to policing."

Maj-Gen Ali was appointed from the Army in 2004 with the mandate to instill discipline and transform a beleaguered force.

Until now, he survived previous attempts to remove him from office.

The Waki Commission, which investigated the post-election violence recommended that a military officer should not head the police.

At least 1,000 people were killed in the violence and thousands displaced. Police were accused of using excessive force, including live bullets, to quell the riots.

The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Prof Philip Alston, said Maj-Gen Ali should be sacked for allegedly abetting unlawful killings of suspected criminals.

Prof Alston investigated the killings in Mt Elgon as police battled the Saboat Land Defence Force.

SLDF killed about 1,200 villagers in 18 months of insurgency that began in August 2006 after a botched land resettlement exercise at Chebyuk, in Mt Elgon.

The military moved in after the launch of a security operation against members and sympathisers of the SLDF and managed to kill the militia's leader Wycliffe Matakwei as well as arresting its other commanders.

At a handing over ceremony at Vigilance House, the police headquarters, Major General Ali expressed satisfaction with his tenure.

"I managed to bring crime down and I take pride in what I did," he told a news conference.

Mr Iteere said it was too early for him to comment on anything as he had just assumed office.

Additional reporting by Muchemi Wachira.

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