The welfare of police officers could soon improve as the government steps up efforts to reverse the wave of crime in the country, even as authorities deny that low morale among junior officers was fuelling the insecurity spike.
In what was a busy day for the security sector, the Cabinet chaired by President William Ruto discussed how to reverse the situation, sweeping changes were made in the police command structure and regional police bosses held a meeting in Nairobi to figure out how to boost the morale of their officers.
More warnings were issued to criminals across the country with the government promising to come for them, but without elaborating what strategies will be used to save citizens who have for weeks borne the brunt of armed gangs.
The government has for the last few weeks been grappling with an upsurge in cattle rustling in the North Rift and armed robberies in urban areas, with Nairobi being the worst hit.
“We cannot have parts of this country, 60 years after independence, still being controlled by bandits. We are coming for you and we will flush you out,” warned Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki after meeting all police bosses at the Embakasi Police Training College last evening.
The tough-talking CS who held his second press briefing in two days identified West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Turkana and some parts of North Eastern as the areas they will focus on.
This is as he denied claims that there was a go-slow among police officers due to the negligence of their welfare and victimisation of their colleagues for carrying out orders issued by their seniors by the new administration.
The government, especially Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, has had tirades against specific units within the police, more so the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), for wrongs perceived to have been committed in the last administration, which has not gone down well with some officers.
“The police service is a disciplined force. The police cannot picket, demonstrate or go slow. We will firmly deal with cases of insecurity. Nairobi, which has borne the brunt of such cases will be safe, not for the short term, but long-term,” promised Prof Kindiki.
As a solution to the capital’s security problem, Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome brought back long-serving city top cop Adamson Bungei and made him the new boss, replacing Manasse Musyoka who has barely lasted a week in the position. Mr Musyoka, who was appointed by Deputy Inspector-General Noor Gabbow when he was acting IG, had taken over from James Mugera, who has since retired from service.
Mr Bungei had served in various commanding positions within Nairobi before being transferred to Turkana Central as the sub-county commander in January and then Baringo as the county commander.
But after failing to completely eliminate cattle rustling like the police bosses before him in the volatile northern region, Mr Bungei is back to familiar grounds.
Also transferred is Assistant Inspector-General Jacinta Muthoni who was named the director of personnel at police headquarters, with express instructions to figure out how to improve the welfare of police.
Mr Munga Nyale, who was the principal assistant to the IG, will be the director of police reforms while Mr Abdalla Komesha, who was recently moved to the DCI will take over Mr Nyale’s position.
Mr Boniface Maingi, who was the director of personnel, will now be the director of operations, taking over from Mr Rashid Yakub who has been sent to the Community Policing Wing as director.
The biggest winners of these changes will be the junior officers who have been promised harmonisation of their salaries, better housing and an opportunity to tell the government which uniform colour they will prefer through public participation.