Police Reforms: Recruitment of Inspector General and Deputies Underway

Submissions for applications for consideration into top positions of the Kenya National Police Service closed this week. This is perhaps one of the most critical pre-election changes in so far as police reforms are concerned.

Nearly 100 candidates have reportedly sent in their applications including civilians and serving police officers and it is being reported that the conditions set out for Inspector General’s position seem to have discouraged a number of interested candidates, since it is a single four-year term job with security of tenure that is not subject to renewal. All applicants also had to obtain mandatory clearance required to be cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), The Credit Reference Bureau, Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) among others.The Inspector General will be in charge of the National Police Service while two deputies will oversee operations of the regular and administration police respectively.

Interestingly, the current commissioner of police, Mathew Iteere has surprised many by not having applied for the position of Inspector General or the two Deputy Inspector Generals. The Inspector General’s position has attracted 90 applications while that of the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Kenya Police attracted 36 applications. The position of the Inspector General in charge of the Administration Police has attracted 33 applications.

Although Iteere had applied for a Certificate of Good Conduct from the CID, indicating he may put in an application, he seemed to have had second thoughts like the former Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua, first expressed an interest in the new positions but has since quit the force and joined politics – running for Governor of Nakuru County. There is speculation about Iteere’s next move but observers say his absence offer some relief to those who wanted change at the top.

It is frightening to imagine that former CID Director Joseph Kamau is among those who have submitted their applications to be Kenya’s first Inspector General. A holder of a master’s degree in police studies, Kamau left the force in 2006 under a cloud of controversy of the still unresolved Artur Brothers saga and the murder of Professor Onyango Mbai, amidst accusations of police lethargy.

The current long serving Kenya Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has submitted applications for both IG and deputy IG positions. He holds a master’s degree in administration. Stephen Kemei, a GSU officer who has served in two United Nations missions in Kosovo, has also applied for both positions. He holds a degree in human resources.

Even more insulting to the Kenyan public is that one Ms. Grace Kahindi who was formerly the Kisumu OCPD during the post election violence and the one who issued shoot to kill orders has also reportedly applied to be considered for Deputy Inspector General. Kaindi is among those who declined to appear before the Waki Commission.

Most of the former and serving senior security officers have serious integrity questions based on their past actions and omissions.

Despite various state-sanctioned attempts to forestall police reforms and to have the current police leadership retained in office until after the 2013 general elections, the Chairman of the National Police Service Commission Johnstone Kavuludi said that their intention is have the new officers installed by December 2012. Previously, a two-pronged attempt has been made to stall the appointments until after the 2013 elections.