Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has defended the withdrawal of security detail attached to MPs, saying, some of his colleagues were affected by the reforms in the police service.
In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Dr Matiang’i said he and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho have no role in the redeployment of officers.
“It’s not right to say we’re targeting certain individuals. It’s police commanders who are doing their work,” the CS said.
Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto last Friday cried foul over the withdrawal of their security personnel and linked it to their support for the DP.
Those affected include Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) and Alice Wahome (Kandara). They termed the withdrawal of their security detail ‘political persecution’.
On Monday, Dr Matiang’i said the move should not be personalised or politicised.
“Some people are insulting me and MPs about bodyguards. Police and security realignment started a long time ago. Some Cabinet secretaries also had their bodyguards changed.
“It’s security of government business unit that is in charge of bodyguards and VIP protection … It could happen to you today. It’s wrong to say people in government are being targeted,” the CS said.
“The administrative work that is happening will continue,” he added. “The CS, PS and IG are not politicians. We should not read politics in everything but leave police to do their work.”
Dr Matiang’i said the government cannot afford to accord all Ward Reps, MPs, Senators or government representatives security aides. “Rationalisation is important,” he said.
The CS said police will help in training private guards to complement their work and some will be armed to offer the services.
Dr Matiang’i spoke as some lawmakers claimed they had not been accorded security even after requesting for it.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei claimed his security was yet to be approved by the State. “They declined my request, claiming my letter was misplaced,” he said.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany said security officers attached to his office were not affected, but added he was ready for any eventuality.
National Assembly Minority whip Junet Mohamed said his security was intact. “As much as we’re entitled to security, it’s the prerogative of the government to provide them,” he said.
“I am in Canada for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association executive committee meeting and my security is still intact,” Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu added.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu also confirmed that his security detail was intact. “Those people whose security has been withdrawn should tell us the reason but you cannot insult the government and continue to enjoy its facilities,” Mr Wambugu said.
Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny said he was not affected by the move. Igembe North MP Maoka Maore also confirmed that his security was intact. “Those affected should not create a buzz out of it as it’s part of the consequences of the happenings in the political terrain”.
Maragua MP Mary Waithira, who survived the move, said they were living in panic. “If we’re wrong by supporting the Deputy President, whom the President told us to look up to whenever we want assistance, it would be in order to be told the reasons instead of living in uncertainty, not knowing when our security detail will be recalled.”
Reporting by Lucas Barasa, Kennedy Kimanthi, Samuel Owino, Wycliff Kipsang, Ndungu Gachane and Joseph Wangui