CS Kindiki calls out IG Koome, NPSC chair Kinuthia over police promotions squabble

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 22:27 | By
Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome.
Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome. PHOTO/NPS/Facebook.

Prof. Kindiki Kithure, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration, has chastised Inspector General (IG) Japhet Koome and National Police Service Commission (NPSC) Chairman Eliud Kinuthia for their public squabble over police promotions.

Kindiki described the episode as "gross misconduct and high-level irresponsibility" by the two top-ranking police officials, which might lead to their removal from office through a tribunal.

"That behaviour by those two institutions and their top officials violates Chapter 6 of the Constitution on integrity and leadership.

"Without delving into the merits and demerits of their positions, public displays of misconduct by institutions critical to the country's security undermine the rule of law…it's the highest level of irresponsibility," Kindiki added.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki. PHOTO/Kindiki/Facebook.

Koome is in the spotlight for promoting 514 police officers, a role mandated to the NPSC chairman Kinuthia. The IG declared on June 5, 2023, that he had unilaterally elevated 514 police personnel within the National Police Service, with the promotions taking effect immediately.

However, in a swift retort, the National Police Service Commission condemned the Inspector General's actions, stating that they are illegal and un-procedural because the Inspector General does not have such legal authority.

When he appeared before the National Assembly's Departmental Committee on Administration and Internal Security, CS Kindiki cited differing interpretations of the Constitution, the National Police Service Act, and the National Police Commission Act as the source of the dispute between the IG of police and the NPSC.

Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome. PHOTO/NPS/Facebook.

Kindiki told the committee led by Gabriel Tongoyo that he "had spoken individually with both officials and instructed them to resolve their differences internally and rationalize the selections that had been made."

He stated that the commission, which includes IG Koome and his two deputies, was meeting on Tuesday and expressed confidence that a solution would be found.

"At a time when we face several national security threats, top officials of security organs engaging in a public spat erodes Kenyans' trust in them, and public trust is important in solving security problems," Kindiki said.

The Interior CS, on the other hand, refused to take sides in the saga, arguing that only the courts or the Attorney General would provide a clear path ahead, on the turf battles that have rocked the two institutions since the 2010 Constitution's publication.

Okiya Omtatah, Kindiki on same page

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah also went to court to sue IG Koome for overriding the constitution by blocking the lawful promotion of police officers and unlawfully promoting 519 police officers.

Okiya requested the court suspend the officers' promotions, which Koome executed on June 5, 2023, without referencing the NPSC.

He further made an application to the high court to clearly define the roles of the Inspector General of Police and the NPSC in regard to human resource management in the police service.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtata. PHOTO/Okiya/Facebook.

He also wants the IG's memo from June 9, 2023, forbidding police officers from applying for the 514 vacancies in the service that the NPSC announced in the press earlier that day, to be suspended. 

Omtatah's petition cites Article 246 (3)(a) of Kenya's 2010 Constitution, which states unequivocally that the National Police Service Commission is solely responsible for the human resource functions of recruitment or appointment, confirmation of appointment, promotion, transfer, disciplinary control, and removal of police officers within the National Police Service.

The Senator now wants the court to give a clear determination on the mentioned roles involving the IG and NPSC.

All eyes are now on the two bodies waiting to see whether they will come to an agreement or continue to air their dirty linen in public. The ruling of the court will also fill the lacuna of the interpretation of the constitution, which Kindiki alleged to be the issue causing the whole scuffle.

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