Suits versus uniforms has always been the divide that has even led to coups across the world. Officers from the disciplined forces have never been able to work hand in hand with their bureaucrat colleagues, and Kenya is no exception. Right from the country’s first Inspector General David Kimaiyo and the National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnston Kavuludi followed by Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji who, though a former spy himself, couldn’t get his team to work with George Kinoti’s boys. Now, Hillary Mutyambai is edging closer and closer to an all-out war with powerful CS Fred Matiang’i.
Although signs of discordance were first detected about two weeks ago when Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya took it upon himself to suspend police bosses in Bahati, Nakuru, after illicit brew killed people, the latest announcement by chiefs has forced the police to now speak out, after feeling that perhaps the ministry of Interior is beginning to infringe on the rights of what should be an independent police service.
All this is because of a plan to arm some chiefs in the country.
Following the IG’s opposition to the plan, some chiefs have been ordered to identify about five individuals in their areas of jurisdiction to be issued with firearms.
The chiefs were through the county commissioners asked to identify at least five people in their areas who will be vetted and recommended to be issued with a certificate to carry weapons and be armed.
Those identified will be required to attend county security committees for vetting before the chief licensing firearms officer is requested to provide them with a permit for the same.
This will reportedly among others ensure the areas are protected from “marauding” criminals in their areas.
The IG is understood to be opposed to the move, saying it is illegal and may lead to having a parallel “police” unit in the locations.
The office of IG Hillary Mutyambai is said to cite the law that states all firearms and police must be under his office and does not understand why NGAO is keen on the plan.
“Already, all county commissioners are guarded by officers from the Critical Infrastructure Unit and they usually consult with local police whenever there is an issue. We don’t understand the rationale for this,” a senior police officer who asked not to be named said.
The IG and his spokesman, Bruno Shioso, refused to comment on the matter.
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