Kimaiyo and Kavuludi row over top jobs

Thursday February 7 2013

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo  (left) with National Police Service Commission Chairperson Johnston Kavuludi at a past press conference. Photo/FILE

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo (left) with National Police Service Commission Chairperson Johnston Kavuludi at a past press conference. Photo/FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRED MUKINDA [email protected]

The police force has been rocked by differences pitting the top command and a key commission.

The rifts arose from decisions involving the appointment of officers to head core dockets.

While National Police Service Commission chairman Johnston Kavuludi made changes that are yet to be effected, those made by Inspector-General David Kimaiyo were implemented.

The issue has sucked in the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, which has supported the IG, saying the commission was overstepping its mandate.

“The commission, in my assessment, is the one causing all this confusion. Instead of restricting itself to human resource issues, it is even encroaching on operational issues that relate to the IG. It is forgetting that the IG has overall independent command of the police and cannot be directed by anybody,” said IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru.

NPSC commissioners have left for the UK amid the simmering problems, hoping to learn from the expertise of their foreign counterparts.

Last week, Mr Kavuludi named Mr Anthony Munga, a superintendent at Police Training College, Kiganjo, the director of communications, making him the police spokesman.

Mr Charles Owino, a senior superintendent, who was deputy spokesman, was named director of internal affairs, while Superintendent Sicily Gatiti became the head of the human resources directorate.

The decision sparked discontent among senior officers who deemed the appointees quite junior to hold such high-level positions.

In the past, the officers would not have qualified because the posts were a preserve of their seniors, at least four ranks above them.

Mr Kavuludi went further and announced that the ranks held by the senior officers had been abolished in line with new policing laws.

The squabbles which followed played out away from public limelight, but attracted the attention of the Office of the President, under which the Internal Security docket falls.

A meeting was hurriedly convened at Harambee House by permanent secretary Mutea Iringo.

Whereas no concrete resolve was made, it was agreed that all radical changes in the police, including transfers, vetting of senior officers and new appointments be put on hold until the next government is in place.

The decision was captured in a joint statement signed by the three officials.

It said: “In the execution of its mandate of recruitment, appointment, transfers and disciplinary control within the police, the commission has developed policies, regulations, standards and procedures which are under consideration for implementation. These include the ranking system, new designations as well as uniforms and insignia.”

A day after it was published in the media, Mr Kimaiyo made new changes which have been effected.

Mr Benson Kibui was appointed the Nairobi PPO while Mr William Okello became the chief of staff at the IG’s office.

The Nation established that Mr Kibui, who was traffic commandant, had been given a letter deploying him to the new station.

The Nation could, however, not immediately establish if the Mr Okello had also received a letter.

The other appointments made by the commission, had not been heeded because the appointees were still stranded at their work stations and could not move without letters authorising them to do so.

“The Constitution is very clear that when it comes to deployment and assigning of duties to police officers, that is the sole preserve of the IG. It is the police who should determine who should be where. NPSC has no capacity and cannot claim to have professional knowledge,” said Mr Njeru.

He further explained that the commission should give room to Mr Kimaiyo and hold him accountable on the basis of laid down regulations.

“How do you hold somebody to account when you are also involved the actual deployment,” added the IPOA chief.

Mr Njeru urged the Charles Nyachae-led Commission on Implementation of the Constitution to help in resolving this issue.

Before leaving Kenya, Mr Kavuludi accused IPOA of overstepping its mandate after the authority opposed the appointment of Mr Ndegwa Muhoro as director of criminal investigations.

Until last October when the commission was established, issues on appointments, promotions and transfers were handled by the Public Service Commission.

When Mr Kavuludi made the changes, he explained that it was in preparation for vetting of all senior officers. He named the new chiefs acting assistant Inspectors-General.

Mr Owino described those opposed to the elevations as “selfish and ignorant.”