POLICE REFORM AGENDA

At independence the institutions that were in operation had been inherited from a colonial master whose intentions ideally should have been different from those of the heirs. The  provincial administration was such an institution.It had widely been argued that it was a colonial instrument of brutality and suppressing dissent. The system had been designed in an authoritarian manner by the British to monitor every aspect of African life,Kenyan in this case. The predecessors of the colonialists did little to change the motive and original intention of the system,instead they retained the status quo;ad hoc and the systems were further misused to protect a few individuals and the government.The Armed police(A.P) was a key proponent in functionality of the provincial administration.Under president Moi,provincial administration thrived and every other institution in the government was pegged to P.A.You cannot separate the police from the P.A.Even in the new constitutional dispensation,the provincial administration has resuscitated in the county commissioners and commanders;but that’s a different topic altogether.

In the Kenyan history, the police both regular and armed have found themselves in more than one occasions on the wrong footing with the public;they have numerously been criticized for violating human rights, corruption,extrajudicial killings,extreme use of force,misuse of office ineffectiveness etc.According to a report by Transparency international,a survey was conducted  which placed Kenyan police as the third most corrupt in the world.But that is not a surprise! The Kenyan police service person is one of the worst remunerated in the world;i mean,give a dog a bad name and hang it.In the report of The Task Force on Police Reforms led by Phillip Ransley ,it states in the foreword that: “Of considerable concern to the Task Force was the welfare of the police. It was found that working conditions of the police left a lot to be desired.“. Furthermore : “The Task Force found that the police are poorly equipped, poorly resourced, and suffer from low morale arising from, among-st others, poor remuneration and other terms and conditions of service”.

Could it be that we are mounting undue pressure to the police while they are similarly helpless? Most probably.

This year particularly,some few events have evoked the reform agenda conversation in the public domain.The police vetting is at the center of this conversation,and more particularly the traffic police, where the officers were found to be much more valuable than their net salary.Although there were efforts to exonerate themselves,the explanations dint simply add up.From poultry to agriculture to dairy farming,but reciprocating in millions.According to a local daily, the police training unit in Kiganjo was equated to The University of Nairobi school of business for producing money minting alumni, in fact, far more than any business school does,that is just a tip of the iceberg.

Another key event was cord’s demonstrations,the ability of the police force to handle and peacefully settle public demonstrations was on litmus once again.It was argued that the police used quite some excessive force which brought back the 92 multiparty struggle memories.The police ability to handle demonstrations and dissent in the public,has been under heavy criticism even in the past. According to the a combined WAKI AND KRIGLER report;specific recommendations for the police;it was recommended that: “undertake extensive and comprehensive public consultations; include an examination and consideration of applicable international law and best practices thorough examination, review and revision of all tactics,weapons and ‘Use of Force’ employed by the Kenyan Police.”njoya

Coupled with the university of Nairobi strike the image painted is one of an irrational institution out of touch with the people and their primary purpose of “Utumishi kwa wote” Again the question poses, what must be done to reform the police service?

The Commission of inquiry into the post election violence [CIPEV] pointed out numerous rapid changes had to be done in relation to the police public image and relations.The police had lost credibility in the eyes of the public and the public was no longer confident in the police service for allegedly becoming partial in the recently concluded violent elections;consequently the CIPEV recommended extensive constitutional,institutional and legal framework to reform the police service.Based on this report ,the National Task force on police reforms was formed chaired by Hon{RTD} Justice Phillip Ransley in 2009.In the report’s foreword  it states that: “The bedrock of any democratic society is a police service dedicated to serving the public by ensuring that law and order is maintained.”

Although many obstacles may have hampered the full implementation of the reforms;obstacles in political will,slow pace of reforms,the cancer of corruption,frustration from those who benefit from the status quo and low levels of civic education among the police themselves;the journey towards a police service that serves and protects public property and life is far from dead,credit must be given where it is due,it isn’t at its peak but efforts are underway.Every Kenyan dreams to have a police officer one can entrust with life and property.That is where the reform begins and ends.

CORD’S ALGEBRA .

The IEBC exit has been on Cord’s agenda for quite a while now. After realizing parliamentary means would not oust Issack Hassan and his commission, Cord decided to incorporate the issue in the Okoa Kenya referendum calls.This was quite a timely move that would hit two birds with a single stone: raise the percentage of revenue the counties would receive from the national government and send Iebc packing.Later on after Iebc rejected half of the 1.6 million signatures citing authenticity, Cord suffered a major set back in the overriding agenda they had relied on to clinch leadership come 2007.In the 2005 constitutional referendum,Raila rose to the peak of his political journey after he managed to convince 58% of the 11 million voters who cast their ballot to vote against that constitution,this not only shaped his path for the next few years but sent a strong message in the political circles.He still was a force to reckon with.

Cord was now left with few options on the table, to either concede defeat a year before the elections or come up with a quick efficient strategy to mobilize their supporters and challenge the government. Although we have had issues of runaway corruption ,tracing the Euro bond and huge government borrowing, the main issue to address according to Cord was the electoral commission. Basing on that, the principles called for demonstrations outside Iebc offices to demand dialogue as an option of last resort.Although they had not used parliament as a tool to air their issues, they staunchly believed that it would be futile to do so due to the “numeric” nature of parliament;they already acknowledged their deficiency in numbers.

The demos have had quite the desired impact,the government retaliated  with excessive force evoking sympathy and public outcry for the demos to cease.This is the exact reaction the opposition wanted:the debate about Iebc was rekindled and the government was on its toes once again.

In a Facebook post titled AN OPEN LETTER TO ISSACK HASSAN AND THE IEBC COMMISSIONERS Peter Kenneth a presidential candidate in the 2012 elections says: “..if you have not noticed the political debate is no longer about whether you will leave but the mechanics of your exit and how to replace you ” advancing the oppositions argument.

In one of the recommendations of the Krigler 2007 post election report ,the commission in regards to security of tenure said : “It seems that security of tenure has been interpreted to mean non-removal of any ground that does not point to a serious criminal offense, such as corruption or other economic crime. This attitude must change if constitutional office holders are to respect their oath of office and be fully accountable to the public…..” In this light the IEBC the successor to the ECK  the body that was on the spotlight in the 2007 post election violence hence the formation of the IREC, is not an exemption .

Following the president’s intervention and promise of the formation of a committee consisting of all stakeholders to look into CORD’S allegations of bias and unfair treatment by the IEBC ,some new pages seem to open up in this tale.

First as a condition, the demonstrations must stop to pave way for dialogue.These demos are Raila’s single most powerful weapon when it comes to maters dialogue in rows , they accrue him more bargaining power compared to the other party.In 2008 Kibaki was forced to give in to Raila’s demands due to the mounting pressure out of the ongoing mass action activities. Now that he has forced himself into a dialogue he stands to loose an upper hand

The composition of CORD’S representation in the committee is a also a key determinant of the outcome of the committee . Ababu Namwamba one of CORD’S intellect has been noticeably missing in action;Ababu would have been Raila’s core asset in the negotiations.Nonetheless he stands to earn mileage from the arrest of sen Muthama and Suni mp Junet Mohamed  on hate speech grounds, although it might be a set back in the dialogue, any publicity to a politician is always beneficial.

The dialogue is yet to begin but according to Tongaren Mp Dr Eseli Simiyu who is part of Cord’s delegation : “…much progress has been made and a lot of ground covered on  the sticking issues …”. There seems to be rays of hope in the future of the dialogue but as to whether a way forward will be stuck remains a mystery laying on the politician’s hands.

THE EAST AFRICAN DILEMMA

 

For years Kenya has been referred to as the East African economic power hub:it has been the preferred investor destination in the region besides running the biggest budget,but a silent sideline has been looming in regards to development projects and partners.As a matter of fact Kenya currently stands as the underdog as neighboring countries scramble for a place in Tanzania’s fast moving bureaucracy.But where did all this begin?

Immediately after ascending to power,president Uhuru Kenyatta seeking partners for the Standard gauge railway project seemed to formulate a ‘coalition of the willing’ with Uganda and Rwanda.Tanzania under president Jakaya Mrisha Kikwete had adopted a reserved foreign policy thereby seeming sidelined by COW.Kenya established a pact with Uganda on the construction of a pipeline through Lamu to Lake Albert in Uganda.On the other hand with Rwanda on the standard gauge railway.

Between March and May, both Uganda and Rwanda have withdrawn from their earlier agreements with Kenya leaving Kenya on the spotlight over which way to go .Suprisingly enough they have opted for Tanzania under president John Pombe Magufuli who has hit the ground rolling literally.Besides Magufuli’s style and system of leadership there are some underlying factors that have led the two countries to defect from partnership with Kenya

CORRUPTION

It should be clearly stated that Kenya’s position on the war against graft has been deteriorating;the war against corruption has been a loosing game infiltrated by top government officials and cartels.The statistics and numbers might have scared these countries off.

FEAR OF SUBMERGING

In 1977 as the EAC was being dissolved the main issue at hand was dominance by the Kenyans. The member countries feared Kenya would dominate and submerge the rest of the countries as underdogs in the pact:four decades later the grim fear has grown into a matured phobia inculcated deep within the narrow borders these states share leading to a huge miscarriage every time the member states try to converge.

EGOCENTRISM

The guiding principle in East Africa is every man for himself God for us all, this was well displayed by Kenya in establishing these pacts.Just before they hatched the partner countries reversed to the same egocentrism Kenya was exhibiting .

conclusively Kenya should stay awake already ,regroup ,reorganize and review their strategy in dealing with the new sheriff in town.

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