INDEPENDENT?

Reshuffle board to salvage IPOA

Current team basically killing the institution, has diverted from its cause.

In Summary
  • Most institutions with boards serving in executive capacity have collapsed.
  • Boards are supposed to be strategic, advisory and policy oriented. Not executive.
This current board must be called to order.
This current board must be called to order.

Let the truth be told. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) was the last bastion of hope. Currently, it is in a shambles. Courtesy of the recruitment of the second board, by the Executive and through Parliament, IPOA is on its deathbed.

Civil society institutions have called it out. In an address to the nation, they lamented that the current board has become more operational than strategic. They are already serving full-time, regardless of the law, they stated. When any board member is serving full time, then there is bound to be conflicts within the institution.

We have learnt this from experience. Most institutions with boards serving in executive capacity have collapsed. Boards are supposed to be strategic, advisory and policy oriented. Not executive. At least not all members. In corporate governance, that is the norm, and it is taught that way. Why the IPOA board has not learnt this is baffling.

 

The current board, regardless of whether they call themselves “commissioners”, is basically killing the institution. In defence of IPOA, we always stand grounded. Together with other patriotic Kenyans, we created IPOA with a purpose. The grand objective was clear: to help solve the public-police relations, through creating an oversight institution that could hold police accountable.

The relations between IPOA and other institutions, including civil society, was solid in the first six years. IPOA was independent, not because of the word, but because of its leadership and secretariat. Independent institutions do not exist. People do.

The relations between IPOA and other institutions, including civil society, was solid in the first six years. IPOA was independent, not because of the word, but because of its leadership and secretariat. Independent institutions do not exist. People do. This current board must be called to order. The parliamentary Committee on National Security and Administration, led by MP Paul Koinange, must arise.

As civil society put it, the committee should save this institution, but equally it must be held accountable for the kind of leaders it recruited. The board should be reshuffled. Indeed, some of the members should be investigated by a tribunal as the law stipulates. 

Since the Constitution provides for fair trial and administrative justice, we are not adjudging these commissioners. But some of them applied for every other job that the inaugural board advertised. This means that they wanted to enter the organisation to do something: to upstage it? One cannot be applying for every other job advertised by an organisation unless they are stooges for someone. 

Finally, they got in. Human rights is an area of practice. They cannot be representing that cause. IPOA was created to protect the rights of the public and police. The current board has diverted from that cause.

We will say that from the rooftops since we cannot stand by and watch the ship sink. It took a lot of kilojoules of energy to establish IPOA. We should not watch as a national institution rot because of a few people.

Former IPOA commissioner. The views expressed are his own