Controversy rocks police over new Mutyambai order
A row is brewing within the police Service after Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai directed officers from the Internal Affairs Unit to report to Regional Commanders for deployment during the elections.
Some officers say the unit is supposed to oversight the police and that, by reporting to regional commanders, its role of receiving and investigating complaints against the police, could be compromised.
Section 87(11) of the National Police Service Act stipulates that the Internal Affairs Unit is not subject to control, direction or command of the Kenya Police, Administration Police or the Directorate.
The unit is headed by a director who reports to the Inspector General only. Both the unit and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) have rolled out a strategy to monitor the police during the election period, including before and after the polls.
One of the key mandates of IPOA is to monitor and investigate police operations affecting the public. Promoting standards
The Internal Affairs Unit, on the other hand, is tasked with promoting uniform standards of discipline and good order in the police service, keeping a record of the facts of any complaint or investigation made to it, and recommending appropriate action on any officer engaging in unlawful conduct.
On Tuesday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that failure by Kenyan authorities to resolve past abuses by police, especially in the 2017 elections, could heighten the risk of police abuse during next week’s election. The US-based watchdog noted that Kenya had failed to investigate accusations of police brutality or institute reforms.
The group’s director for East Africa, Otsieno Namwaya, said this could raise the threat of violence if the results are disputed.
“Failure to tackle police abuse in previous elections risks emboldening the police to continue their misconduct,” said Namwaya.
But Mutyambai says adequate police officers have been deployed across the country.
Several government institutions have put measures in place to monitor the elections and ensure that cases are duly reported.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), for example, on Wednesday opened a 24-hour call centre where the public can report election-related offences. The toll-free lines — +254110939802 and 0800723377 — also seek to bring justice closer to Kenyans in need of legal services.
Yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, said the call centre would bridge the gap between what is happening and what is reported to police.
“We will also feed in reports from media and other sources. This will bridge the gap, especially where people complain that a crime has been committed but no action has been taken by police,” said Haji.