FORCED TO HAVE SEX

Ipoa to probe alleged sexual harassment of female cops

They claimed they were intimidated, threatened with transfers, demotions, sacking. Police spokesman unavailable.

In Summary

• Female officers sent claims to activist Boniface Mwangi who posted them on social media, without naming them. They claimed intimidation, threats of demotion, transfers, sacking, forced sex. 

• Ipoa says it will get to the truth and ensure justice if claims are true. Police spokesman unavailable.

Ipoa chairperson Anne Makori and commissioner Doreen Muthaura during a press briefing at ACK Garden Annex, Nairobi, on January 22.
WOMEN COPS COMPLAIN: Ipoa chairperson Anne Makori and commissioner Doreen Muthaura during a press briefing at ACK Garden Annex, Nairobi, on January 22.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Police watchdog Ipoa will investigate complaints by some female police officers that they are sexually harassed and even molested by their seniors.

The officers, who sent confidential details of their alleged ordeals, claimed some of their bosses demand sexual favours. They said if they refuse, they face intimidation and threats of disciplinary action, transfer to remote areas, demotion and even sacking.

The women sent their claims to activist Boniface Mwangi who publicised the complaints on social media without naming the officers.

 

“We as police ladies are have been undergoing tough times in the force. Sexual harassment, threats and intimidation and many things…police ladies have been sexually molested by their seniors at their places of work," a complaint reads.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority on Wednesday announced it would investigate, get to the bottom of the complaints and seek justice if they are true.

“Thank you for highlighting this matter. We would like to take it up," Ipoa spokesman Denis Oketch said, calling on Mwangi to forward specific complaints.

One officer alleges a former Kasarani superior “has been molesting police ladies and reportees in all stations he has worked".

"...he has molested  others to the extent of forcing them to have anal sex with him,” they claimed.

Saying 20 survivors have recorded statements, the officers said they have lodged their complaints and the evidence of their ordeals with the National Police Service’s Internal Affairs Unit.

Efforts to obtain comment from police spokesman Charles Owino were unsuccessful as he was in meetings throughout Thursday. Efforts to obtain details of the planned probe from Ipoa were unsuccessful.

 

Some officers asked Police IG Hillary Mutyambai during a live Citizen TV  interview last week to address their frustrations in the service. In messages read by the presenter, the unnamed officers complained of harassment by superiors and being bypassed for promotion, even after returning from studies and acquiring higher qualifications. 

The IG denied the claims. 

Previous media reports have indicated some senior police officers tend to punish their juniors who do not cooperate with their informal 'orders' by transferring them to remote areas away from their families and places where they cannot access bribes.

(Edited by V. Graham)