CS Kindiki to allocate each chief five police officers

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure at the Mtwapa chief’s office in Kilifi when he made an impromptu visit on November 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

The government has announced a new governance structure for more than 6,000 chiefs across Kenya to bolster their work, improve security at the grassroots and help in intelligence gathering.

In the new structure, all chiefs will have at least five armed police officers at their disposal to help them in enforcing law and order. That will translate to at least 30,000 officers attached to local chiefs across the country.

Speaking at the Mtwapa chief’s office in Kilifi when he made an impromptu visit, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure said the new measures will be implemented starting in January next year.

“Every chief will have at least five police officers attached to them. We want to ensure chiefs are enabled to enforce the law and articulate government policy,” he added. 

All police officers now operate from their stations. He directed officials in the State Department of Interior to start deploying police officers to chiefs.

“We are also grappling with other [unique] security challenges … but five police officers per chief should be deployed, subject to the adjustment that we want to make to ensure the police are also deployed to critical issues of [maintaining] national security,” he added.

Mr Kithure said chiefs must be empowered and have more authority to improve security, especially in villages. But he warned them against harassing and intimidating innocent citizens.

He also warned them against engaging in politics but instead use their offices to communicate positive things about the government and its policies and programmes while sensitising the public about them.

The administrators will sensitise Kenyans about the importance of tree planting, immunisation, civil registration programmes and 100 percent transition to the next level for students, he said.

He said state officers will be supported and empowered but they must be efficient. 

The state, he added, is also working on a policy to guide the operations of other cadres below chiefs, including their assistants, Nyumba Kumi and village elders in the next two months. He said they will be facilitated to deliver.

The government will also announce measures intended to improve existing transport arrangements for chiefs and their assistants.

“We have come to pay a courtesy call on Chief Jirani Mwongo to see how he works and the environment under which he operates. We are satisfied with the chief, to see it is around 5pm and he is still in the office. We have also seen his assistant and how he works,” Mr Kithure said.

He assured chiefs, their assistants and other national government administrators at the grassroots of the state’s support, adding that their working environment will be improved to ensure they work effectively.

He said it is important to strengthen national government administration officers to boost security and information gathering.

"The government will bolster all state offices … because they are our eyes and ears at the grassroots and help us in intelligence gathering. We want them to articulate government policy more clearly and effectively,” he added.

He said the national government will collaborate with parliamentarians to build better offices for chiefs and their assistants so that they can serve Kenyans efficiently.

Starting on December 1, every chief will have a service charter displayed for Kenyans to see. In the charter, Kenyans will know the service offered by the chief, timelines taken for delivery and if there are any charges required for the service.

“This will ensure we don’t have any grey areas whether or not that service has a fee attached to it. Chiefs will also have service registers that can be inspected by their seniors within the ranks," he said.

To enhance accountability and openness, the registers will record what the chiefs do daily and the services they offer.

Chiefs will also be required to have work plans that will be mandatory and verifiable to establish the duration they spend in offices and at barazas and other activities within their mandate.

Mr Kithure said the move is intended to balance office and out-of-office duties.

“We are looking at the standard, formal and verifiable service charters, registers and work plans for all chiefs across the country effective December 2022,” he said.