Prisons officers redeployed to reinforce police
Zadock Angira and Roy Lumbe
About 3,000 Kenya Prisons Service officers will work with the police to enhance security this festive season.
All security agents have also been directed to be on high alert owing to security challenges that have been exacerbated by the political upheavals in neighbouring countries.
Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai yesterday said the prison officers had been declared and gazetted as “special police officers” and would be deployed to perform general police duties.
Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i cancelled Christmas break for all police and other security officers and the National Government Administration Officers who include Regional, County, Deputy County, Assistant County Commissioners, chiefs and assistant chiefs.
He said it was a directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta in his capacity as chairman of the National Security Council (NSC).
“The Prisons Department will give out 3,000 officers to patrol the cities this festive season. We assure Kenyans we are on top of things pertaining security and ask for continuous cooperation,” Mutyambai said.
He was accompanied by officials of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the Commissioner General of Prisons Brig (Rtd) John Kibaso Warioba.
There are about 80,000 active police officers in the country and the deployment of the prisons officers indicates there are serious security challenges.
Mutyambai said the Covid-19 pandemic remains a threat and urged for caution to contain the spread of the virus.
Both the police and NTSA said they will ensure order on the roads, especially during this season when many people are travelling.
During the press conference, NTSA revealed that there have been more deaths from road accidents this year than last year.
The authority had recorded an increase of 18.5 per cent in road fatalities as of November 30.
Reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drink driving, drink walking, drink riding, failure to use helmets among other issues have been attributed to the increase in accidents.
Some 4,121 people had been killed in various accidents as of November 30 compared to 3,478 in the same period last year. Of these, 1,413 were pedestrians. Some 1,231 died in the same period last year.
The pedestrians killed were crossing roads when they were hit by vehicles and motorcycles. NTSA said most of the accidents were preventable.
“They result from speeding, lane indiscipline, overloading, dangerous overtaking and crossing the road at undesignated areas,” NTSA’s George Njao said.
Meanwhile, the government has heightened security in the Rift Valley region in anticipation of high number of local and international tourists.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said security patrols would be enhanced especially in areas where people would gather and tourist destinations to ensure a safe holiday season.
He said the government had been taking precautionary measures to avert incidents of insecurity in the region.
“The government has taken stringent measures to ensure that people are safe as they make merry during Christmas and Happy New Year. Security officers will conduct regular patrols,” he said.
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata also said adequate security arrangements had been made to ensure the safety of tourists visiting Mombasa and other coastal areas, to celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays.
“We are ready for the festivities and have deployed adequate security personnel to enhance patrols at the beaches, places of worship and popular joints to ensure residents and visitors enjoy a peaceful and safe holiday season,” said Elungata. —Additional reporting by KNA