Irene Githinji @gitshee
The National Police Service—whose mandate is to ensure law and order—is now caught up in a mischievous game that left six of its top officers floating without duty stations and ambiguous portfolios, but with full salaries.
The officers, only three and four ranks below the Inspector General of Police, have been oscillating between Vigilance House and Education ministry for the last seven months in what insiders believe is plot to blot them out of an emerging succession intrigues in the service. The six have the qualifications to compete for the coveted IG and DIG positions.
But other sources indicated the officers’ woes could be politically motivated. The deployment of Senior Assistant Inspectors of Police William Atswenje Saiya and Fred Mwei and Assistant Inspectors General of Police Peter Mwanzia, Gideon Amalla, Peter Okwanyo and Moses Kipsambu to man security affairs in universities has consequently ignited a serious war between the Interior and Education ministries.
Saiya, Mwanzia and Amalla are from the regular police while Mwei, Okwanyo and Kipsambu are from the Administration Police unit.
Before their controversial deployment, Saiya served as the Commandant of GSU and later at Kiganjo Police Training College. Mwei had been the deputy AP commandant, having served under both Kinuthia Mbugua and Samuel Arachi.
The genesis of their controversial deployment can be traced to Education ministry’s request for security officers to man universities to ward off infiltration of terror activities in the institutions.
But once the deployments were made, the ministry raised concern over posting of “such senior officers” to handle dockets that could be manned by their juniors. But two DIGs Edward Mbugua (Regular Police) and Noor Gabow (AP) could hear none of the concerns and have stuck to their guns that the six belong to the ministry and not Vigilance House.
The matter arose during the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) meeting with IG Joseph Boinnet reportedly informing the Johnstone Kavuludi-led team that he had been instructed by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) to remove the six from the service.
Boinnet is said to have supported the stance taken by his deputies, Mbugua and Gabow, even as the commissioners question NSAC’s role in transfer or deployment of police officers.
Consequently, in the last seven months, the six have found themselves being tossed between Vigilance and Jogoo houses, with no abode. They have had to operate from either their houses or cars.
Reports indicate they had been seconded to Jogoo House head security in national universities following heightened terrorism and other insecurity threats.
In 2016, the then Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery announced plans to deploy senior officers to schools and universities as it stepped up the fight against radicalisation and terrorism.
This happened after then University Education PS Colleta Suda requested secondment of police officers to secure institutions of higher learning.
Under the programme each university was to be assigned a senior police officer to head security operations while secondary schools were to be manned by a police station commander (OCS).
It emerged that some senior officers took advantage of the process and offloaded individuals whom they considered to be threat to their positions.
Consequently, the six in the rank of either Senior Assistant Inspectors General (S/AIG) or AIG, were deployed to the institutions, their high rank notwithstanding. Ideally, such high ranking officers are usually not expected to man learning institutions.
The bone of contention has been the fact that Jogoo House does not have anywhere to deploy the officers, who are ranked at the level of directors. The department of University Education has had correspondences to have the six redeployed back but reports indicate they are still to be absorbed back into the force.
And in a letter dated August 14, the State Department for University Education and Research wrote to the two DIGs Mbugua and Gabow informing them that it has released the three police officers to report back to Kenya Police headquarters by September 4.