Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe
Panic has gripped the National Police Service after Inspector General Joseph Boinnet unveiled new eight regional commanders in changes that will leave the fate of at least 200 senior officers hanging in the balance.
The changes come barely a month after officers under the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) protested to Boinnet over the impending reforms that would force their seniors to play second fiddle to their uniformed counterparts.
Although there will still be senior DCI officers at all levels of command, they will be one rank below their General Duty commander, a move that has irked the detectives. Tellingly, none of the new commanders appointed by Boinnet yesterday is drawn from the DCI.
According to the new structure, detectives at the DCI will be required to report to uniformed officers of a lower rank than their own.
Besides causing ripples in the DCI, other senior officers in Administration Police (AP) and Regular Police now fear the changes could cost them ranks, offices and status.
Boinnet’s decision saw all current regional commanders from regular, AP and DCI recalled to Jogoo House for redeployment.
Unlike the previous administrative structure in which APs, DCI and Regular Police operated in a semi-autonomous manner, the move will see all officers in the service operating under one harmonised command in the regions.
The new commanders will be in charge of all operations in the merged service.
Consequently, Judy Lamet has been named Regional Commander (RC) Central, Philip Ndolo (Nairobi), Marcus Ocholla (Coast), Eunice Kihoko (Eastern) and Paul Soi (North Eastern).
Edward Mwamburi is the Rift Valley regional police chief while Dr Vincent Makoha and Rashid Yakub have been posted to Nyanza and Western regions, respectively.
“The strategy to restructure the service command is on course. In effect, it means the current police commanders from the Kenya Police and Administration Police have been recalled. We have recalled them. They retain their ranks for redeployment. None has lost his or her job,” Boinnet said.
He said the primary considerations in selecting the new commanders were duration and conduct in service, age, regional as well as gender parity.
“Those officers will henceforth assume full command of all police operations in the regions that they have been posted to and will be responsible for coordinating with commanders to ensure effective, efficient and responsive delivery of policing services in their areas,” he said.
Under the new structure, the Deputy Inspector General Edward Mbugua (Kenya Police Service) will be in charge of Public Security and Safety while Administration Police Service DIG Noor Gabow is in charge of Protective and Border Security. DCI George Kinoti in mandated to handle criminal investigations.
The appointments were sanctioned by the NPSC, which is yet to be fully constituted. However, the appointments will be regularised once a new commissioner is established after the tenure of the previous one headed by Johnstone Kavuludi lapsed last year.
Boinnet’s changes caused panic and tension among senior officers, with questions emerging on how they would be accommodated. Though Boinnet allayed fears that all the officers will be redeployed, sources intimated to the People Daily that plans are afoot for those above 54 years take early retirement.