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November 15, 2018

Kavuludi: Uhuru grabbed our power

President Uhuru Kenyatta meet with Members of the Police Reforms commission led by its Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi(r) and Senior Government officials when they called on him at State House/ PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta meet with Members of the Police Reforms commission led by its Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi(r) and Senior Government officials when they called on him at State House/ PSCU

The National Police Service Commission says it was unable to fully discharge its mandate because President Uhuru Kenyatta usurped its powers.

In his exit report exclusively obtained by the Star, commission chairman Johnstone Kavuludi singles out the 2014 amendment to the National Police Service Act and the National Police Service Act that snatched its power to recruit the Inspector General and his two deputies.

Despite protests from the then Opposition, the commission’s powers to appoint the three were handed to the President who promptly appointed Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and deputy IG Joel Kitili.

The commission has also identified the Judiciary and threats against the commission chairman during the vetting of police among challenges it faced.

Apart from death threats from anonymous people, a human head was once dumped outside Kavuludi's office as the former teacher started vetting police officers.

After six years at the helm, the first crop of commissioners of the National Police Service Commission whose term ends next month have concluded that four major factors hindered them from delivering their mandate.

Among them is frustration by the Judiciary and inadequate funding.

The commissioners have recommended that the National Police Service Act and the National Police Service Commission Act be amended to give their successors power to recruit the IG and the two deputies without involving the Presidency.

The commission laments that Parliament mutilated its powers by amending the NPSC Act 2014.

To deal with frequent quorum hitches, the commission wants the the two acts revised to remove a requirement that at least two of the three top police commanders should be present in every commission meeting. The commission's operations were once almost crippled after then IG David Kimaiyo refused to attend meetings.

Read: More than 400 traffic cops dismissed for failing vetting - Kavuludi

"The presence of 6 out of 9 Commissioners is almost impracticable and this has made it difficult to hold necessary meetings considering the nature of the work of the three NPS commanders. The Act should have stipulated the presence of 1 instead of the 2," the report reads.

Kavuludi and his team are part of the security chiefs who will attend the two-day police conference at Kenya School of Government starting today. The conference is likely to be the last major public function for Kavuludi's team whose terms expires next month.

Kavuludi’s end term report also cites the fact that the commission does not control the police payroll as another challenge.

The payroll is controlled from the Office of the President despite the commission being a constitutionally independent body.

Even civilian staff working for the commission are paid from the OP which Kavuludi says they have tried in vain to reverse.

“The implementation of decisions of the Commission is also hinged on the payroll, because key human resource decisions including promotions, transfers and some disciplinary sanctions are effected and seen to be effected through the monitoring and management of the payroll," states the report.

ROGUE

The judiciary is also accused of being an impendent to the commission’s work. Kavuludi says many police officers whom the commission found unsuitable after the vetting had found their way back after challenging their sacking in court.

He says the commission therefore failed to remove rogue cops after intervention of the courts. This, coupled with high public expectation, had resulted in his commission poor image in the eyes of the public.

Read: Kavuludi team verifies 3,739 junior cops' degree certificates

The Kavuludi-led commission was the first independent body to manage police affairs. It will be leaving office without securing a pay rise for more than 100,000 police officers in its employment.

Kavuludi regrets that his plans had been scuttled by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission which failed to approve a request to raise the police salaries.

Kavuludi’s tenure was characterised by skirmishes with the police members of the commission. He disagreed with both IGs Kimaiyo and Boinnet on several occasions.

Last month Kavuludi disagreed with Boinnet and his deputies over a proposal to recruit 5,000 freshers and fire 300 officers who had reportedly failed in the vetting.

Kavuludi wanted the commission to proceed with the recruitment at the tail end of its term but Boinnet and his deputies insisted that the exercise be deferred until new commissioners have taken over.

Read: MPs want Kavuludi out for ‘not improving cops’ welfare’

The commanders argued that the commission’s decisions were likely to be challenged in court, with barely a month before Kavuludi’s team exited from office.

According to the commission’s initial plan new police recruits were to report to training colleges by mid-September for orientation.

With barely two weeks before their exit, the plan seems to have flopped.

DISAGREEMENT

In 2013, a retreat had to be organized by then head of Public Service Francis Kimemia to broker a working relationship between Kimaiyo and Kavuludi.

Kimaiyo had released a list of 47 senior police officers whom he wanted sent to the counties but Kavuludi and his commission disowned the names and claimed they were never consulted. The tussle over who to deploy or appoint officers to positions was later resolved with the understanding that operational issues are the preserve of the service commanders.

At one point, Kavuludi openly criticized Kimaiyo for failing in his job and stated that he should be blamed for failing to deal with crime. Kavuludi spoke during a meeting at a Naivasha hotel at the height of the fallout between his commission and the former police chief.

At the time, Kavuludi believed that Kimaiyo was pushing for the powers of the commission to be clipped.

Read: Kavuludi , police chiefs clash on hiring and firing

Also Read: Kavuludi backs proposal to scrap traffic police department

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