Dingy, stuffy, leaky mabati houses. That is what met National Assembly Security Committee chairman Paul Koinange when he toured police stations in Kabete and Limuru where he came face to face with the reality —sordid living conditions —facing the National Police Service housing inefficiencies. Some of the police quarters were in such a sordid state there was weed sprouting out of the wet, earthen ground.
Those living with their families in the crammed space find it roughest. Not only is the environment unhealthy for children, it is unconducive for studies if they are of school-going age.
Koinange, who is also Kiambaa MP attributed low morale among police officers in the area to their repugnant living conditions. He warned that unless the conditions are improved, the officers will continue to exercise their duties with little or no enthusiasm.
“I am very disturbed to see our police officers living in these dingy houses. The situation on the ground is critical and yet we expect the same officers to protect us from criminals efficiently,” he said. The chairman promised to take up the matter with the Interior ministry for a collaborative solution.
“Both the houses and offices are congested while others have gaping holes on their roofs and I now understand why the policemen and women are always demoralised and harsh on innocent Kenyans.
I feel obliged to help improve the same through Parliament together with the ministry of Interior,” he said. He also urged the National Lands Commission (NLC) and respective county governments to issue land title deeds to all security facilities in the country.
“For the government to build permanent houses, the land must have a title deed and it is unfortunate that most land on which police stations stand does not have the vital documents,” he said.
Saying he was set to tour other counties on the same mission, the MP added that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ agenda will be impossible to achieve in the absence of security.
He, at the same time, revealed that plans were under way to ensure police officers are not irregularly transferred. “Although the government cannot advocate police officers deciding for themselves where to serve, it is inhumane to keep transferring them too often,” he said.
He was reacting to complains by police officers that most of them were being moved too often with some saying they are transferred three times in a year.