Koome shakes up police force after public blunders

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024 00:30 | By
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a recent press briefing in Nairobi.
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a recent press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print

The Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome has moved to stamp his authority following the two blunders that have made headlines in the last four days.

IG Koome has ordered for independent investigations into the Voi demolitions and what his office termed unwarranted violent dispersion of members of public who were holding a peaceful celebration in Nairobi on Sunday.

To pave the way for independent investigations, the Coast Region police commander Kenneth Kimani has been recalled to the police headquarters over the controversial evictions of residents in Voi, Taita Taveta county.

The police boss has named George Sedah the new Coast police boss in the changes that also affected police commanders in Taita Taveta County and Voi Sub County.

Sedah, the former Mandera County police boss who was early last year promoted and named the North-Eastern police boss, was currently leading the operations in Boni enclave.

Takes over

Taita Taveta county commander Patrick Okeri and his Voi sub-county counterpart Bernstein Shari have also been recalled to the headquarters.

In the changes, Ibrahim Daffala has been named the new Voi police commander while William Kiplangat takes over as Taita Taveta County boss.

In other changes, Siaya County commander Michael Muchiri has been named the Kiambu county police boss, replacing Perminus Kioi who has retired.

The new Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) boss is the former Unit’s deputy head Samuel Laboso. He takes over from Margaret Karanja who has also retired.

IG Koome on Saturday ordered an internal inquiry into the violent land eviction in Msambweni Voi that left more than 3000 people homeless, prompting an uproar on the manner in which it was conducted.

The houses were demolished by Sparkles Properties Limited, which claims ownership of the piece of land they used to call home.

This means an investigation will be conducted on how the exercise was conducted and if those who participated or ordered the same are found culpable they may be punished through even courts.

Koome also recalled the police commanders to Nairobi for the probe. He said their recall will pave way for the inquiry.

He added that action will be taken against any officer found culpable of carrying out the said demolition without the necessary authorisation.

Top officials

It emerged the plan to demolish the houses was not shared among top officials in Nairobi as it should be.

Authorities had ordered police commanders in the country not to participate in any form of eviction before they inform police headquarters.

The move to inform the headquarters is meant to ensure various due diligence measures are taken into account before any action is taken.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga, together with Taita Taveta leaders, have since condemned the demolitions that were carried out under the supervision of a contingent of police officers.

“From Mavoko to Kakamega, Thika, and Mombasa and today in Voi, the government seems to be pursuing a policy of evicting people from their settlements using utmost pain inflicted at the most desperate moments,” Odinga said in a statement.

The government had earlier directed that evictions should only be done with the approval of a joint security committee and the Interior ministry, and in a framework that also respects the interests of the people.

Before such evictions are done, a comprehensive report detailing the security and socio-economic implication of the eviction including the number of persons affected and the ownership of the affected property, will be prepared.

Some of the previous evictions have been conducted in inhumane manners, and in some cases the orders requiring eviction have been found not to be authentic.

Regarding the Sunday incident, Koome has directed for stern administrative action to be taken against the officers who engaged in the unlawful action.

“The National Police Service reiterates its commitment to remain politically neutral in execution of its mandate of protecting life and property,” he said.

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