Race for Boinnet seat on as NPSC team endorsed

Zaddock Angira @PeopleDailyKe

Lobbying has intensified in the race to succeed Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet after the Parliament on last week approved National Police Service Commission (NPSC) nominees.

The National Assembly adopted the report of  Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security on nominees’ vetting, paving way for Eliud Kinuthia to take over as NPSC chairman.  Once it is sworn, the new NPSC team will replace the Johnston Kavuludi-led team that left office last year.

Besides Kinuthia, other nominees approved by MPs are Lilian Mutio Kiamba, Eusebius Karuti Laibuta, Naphtaly Kipchirchir Rono, Alice Atieno Otwala and John Tentemo ole Moyaki.  The President is now expected to gazette the names, which will set in motion the search for Boinnet’s successor. Boinnet’s tenure ends by end of March.

But even as the lobbying intensifies, a debate is raging on ho is suitable to be the next police boss, with various names, both in the service and outsiders, linked to the race. There is a debate on whether an “outsider’ is better place to deliver amid claims an experienced “insider” would be an impediment to the ongoing police reforms and restructuring.

Names floated

Opinions are divided with most officers saying they are not comfortable with an outsider leading the service. Others say the learning curve may be steep and long for an outsider, especially at this critical period when the service is in the middle of reforms.

“We have qualified and dedicated senior officers within the service who can take over. There will definitely be an issue with acceptance,” said an officers who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to speak for the service.

Some of the names floated as likely Boinnet successors include Hillary Mutyambai, an assistant director with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and currently attached to National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

The name of NCTC former director Isaac Ochieng has also been mentioned. He had risen to the rank of inspector when he left the police service. He was among the longest serving personal assistants the former NIS boss Wilson Boinnet.

Other top contenders for the position are Deputy Inspector in charge of Administration Police Noor Gabow, Police Service director of communication Charles Owino, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti, National Police Service College (Kiganjo Campus) commandant King’ori Mwangi, General Service Unit (GSU) commandant Douglas Kirocho Kanja and Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

Considerable progress

The appointing authority must consider a number of factors in this delicate exercise, also considering the security challenges in the country that calls for intelligence-based approaches, accountability, people involvement and most importantly, and respect for the rule of law.

“Although considerable progress has been made in the restructuring of the service to make it more effective, the internal climate remains fragile, morale low and reports of warring internal factions,” our source added.

The President may surprise with his choice. Since the IG is an administrator, the post can successfully be managed by another professional—without police background.

The IG is appointed for a four-year non-renewable term.

Boinnet took over from David Kimaiyo, who resigned on December 2, 2014 just few hours after a terror attack that claimed 36 lives in Mandera. Although pressure had been mounting on the President to sack him and the then Interior Cabinet secretary, Kimaiyo denied he had been forced to resign.

New nominee

The President is expected to nominate a person and submit the name to Parliament, which should, within 14 days after it first meeting since receiving the name, consider the suitability and either approve or reject. If approved, the president then appoints the nominee but if rejected, the President submits a new nominee.

Those eligible must be graduates who have served in a senior management position for at least 15 years and have at least knowledge and experience in the fields of criminal justice, policy development and implementation, security, strategic management, sociology and law, among others.

The applicants who have previously been convicted of any criminal offence, are bankrupt or have violated the Constitution are automatically disqualified.

The position holder can be removed from office only on grounds of incompetence, physical or mental incapacity to perform duties, gross misconduct, or serious violation of the law.

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