End police promotions row

The recent promotions of 500 senior police officers hang in the balance due to a standoff between Inspector-General Japhet Koome and the National Police Service Commission (NPSC).

The NPSC’s public rubbishing of this administrative decision as illegal is quite unfortunate. The IG, being the chief executive, and the regulator needs to work closely to streamline the police service.

There should be consultations over such decisions with far-reaching ramifications. Instead, the NPSC, whose chief executive is Peter Leley, declared the promotions null and void. It says they are contrary to Article 246 of the Constitution, the National Police Service Commission Promotion Regulations 2015, Chapter 34 of the National Police Service (NPS) Standing Orders, 2017 and the National Police Service Career Guidelines.

And allegedly since it cannot ascertain the merits of the action as it neither declared nor approved the vacancies. But Mr Koome insists that Article 245(4)(c) of the Constitution allows him to exercise independent command over the police. Declaring that such promotions must be equitable and reflect gender and regional balance and ethics and integrity, the commission has directed that they should not be effected.

In line with the Constitution, there ought to be a clear distinction of the mandates of either office. The public misunderstanding between the regulator and police boss is, therefore, in bad taste. Besides, the morale of the affected officers and their colleagues will be adversely affected.

This supremacy battle calls for high-level intervention. The antagonists must climb down from their high horses and engage in consultations to resolve the dispute.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki must quickly get to the bottom of the matter and clarify any ambiguity that might have led to this ugly clash. The guidelines governing such key institutions must be clarified and strictly observed to avoid fights that can have disastrous consequences.