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Matiang'i reshuffles Nyandarua police bosses

Officers raise concern over dangerous command loophole created by changes at the top.

In Summary

• Central regional commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said Wednesday that officers who have overstayed in Nyandarua will be targeted.

Central regional commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga with Interior CS Fred Matiang'i in Nyandarua on June 15, 2020
Central regional commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga with Interior CS Fred Matiang'i in Nyandarua on June 15, 2020
Image: Ndichu Wainaina
New Nyandarua county police commander Julius Rutere
New Nyandarua county police commander Julius Rutere
Image: Ndichu Wainaina

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i has begun reshuffling police bosses in Nyandarua county to bolster security.

Bizarre killings, livestock theft, rapes and defilements among other crimes have dogged the county and police have been accused of laxity. Ol Joro Orok constituency has been most affected. 

Central regional commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said Wednesday that officers who have overstayed in Nyandarua will be targeted. 

“Several officers who have overstayed in this area have to be transferred so that we get new officers who can address these issues,” he said.

Nyagwanga spoke on Wednesday during a security meeting held at Weru Secondary School in Kasuku, Ol Joro Orok.

So far county police commander Gideon Ngumi has been replaced by Zachary Kimani. In another change, Julius Rutere has replaced Herine Agola as county DCI boss.

Wanyama Nyongesa took over from Isaac Ruto as Nyandarua West subcounty police commander with more changes expected.

Some police officers in Nyandarua have raised concerns that the changes have created a dangerous loophole in the command structure.

Those who spoke to the Star in confidence said Rutere, the new DCI boss is a commissioner of police while Kimani, the new county police commander is a senior superintendent of police. His predecessor was a commissioner of police.

“It means that Rutere is senior than county police commander. That is a problem. The county police commander is in the same rank with subcounty commanders. You cannot put a senior superintendent in charge of county while his juniors are in the same rank as him. When he issues orders, who will listen yet they are equals?” an officer posed

 

In the last six months, more people, mostly women and children have been killed in Ol Joro Orok under unclear circumstances.

Nyagwanga said most of these killings revolve around family disputes.

He urged the local community to agree to provide information to police so that “prosecution can be carried out as that is where we have a raw link.”

Nyandarua county commissioner Boaz Cherutich confirmed that out of over 30 cases of murders reported in the past one year, about 20 were from Ol Joro Orok.

He said most of the cases were pending, under investigations and the perpetrators have never been found.

To deal with stock theft, Nyagwanga said, strategic road blocks will be put in animal trade corridors.

Movement of animals from Nyandarua has also been banned, unless under special licence.

He said Toyota Probox cars and motorcycles used to transport stolen animals, or meat will be impounded. 

Chiefs, Nyagwanga said, are encouraged to hold small village barazas due to Covid–19, where they shall address issues of security and also educate the populace.

The administrator was accompanied by Central regional police boss Patrick Lumumba and other regional and county security chiefs.

Lumumba said that lack of cooperation among various security actors in efforts to outshine one another has contributed to escalation in crimes.

“When you go it alone to be judged as a performer, we shall not judge you so. Why would a chief, for instance go alone when there are police officers?” he asked. 

Lumumba warned criminals that a special team deployed from Nairobi to deal with killers and thieves will not spare them.

“If you are involved, just know you will be shot. The squad does not joke. They know their job: to investigate and take action,” he said. 

He said all subcounty police bosses are under instructions to ensure all AP camps are staffed with police officers, or made patrol bases where there is a shortage of officers.

Residents expressed concern over frustrations and betrayal by police officers.

Weru Nyumba Kumi chairman, Samuel Memia, said while they intercept stolen animals or report suspects, they are chased away on the basis of lack of witnesses.

“If we bring suspects we should be respected. We should not be chased away and told there are no witnesses. Who brought that person or a goat to the police, are we not the witnesses?” he asked.