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What you need to know:
- Ipoa was among the independent institutions that came about after the promulgation of the Constitution in August 2010.
- It has authority has also been beset by internal and external challenges that have hindered them from fully executing their mandate.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) could be plunged into a leadership crisis as transition among senior personnel looms.
The terms for both the board and the chief executive officer Joel Mabonga are ending just days apart, a situation that could leave the authority without the policy arm and the head of operations.
Dr Mabonga is already on terminal leave pending his retirement on May 31.
He was appointed on June 1, 2014 and sworn in September the same year.
In his place, the board appointed Business Services director Maina Njoroge in an acting capacity until a new CEO is appointed.
On the other hand, the current board chaired by Macharia Njeru was appointed on May 23, 2012 and sworn into office for a six-year non-renewable term on June 4, 2012, meaning the latest they will be leaving office is on June 3.
The unfolding situation will likely leave Ipoa without the board and a substantive CEO for indeterminate period.
But even as this situation unfolds, the Sunday Nation has established that the board in the coming days may advertise for the position of a new CEO, raising questions whether they will conclude the exercise before their own terms end.
Such a move also raises questions regarding why the current board is so intent on filling the position rather than allow the incoming board the opportunity to do it.
“These are internal matters falling within purview of the board’s mandate and I am not authorised by my board to discuss full details.
"We are a responsible and experienced board fully cognisant of our role to ensure continuity and stability of our institution,” Mr Njeru told the Sunday Nation.
“Suffice it to say that we are absolutely clear in our minds as a board that we will play our role effectively and there will be no gap whatsoever. We created the institution from scratch as the inaugural board and can only leave it stronger,” Mr Njeru added.
The Sunday Nation also reached out to the outgoing CEO who said he can only talk of Ipoa’s journey since its establishment and not his and terms of board members.
Other Ipoa board members are Jedidah Ntoyai, Grace Madoka, Vincent Kiptoo, Tom Kagwe, Rose Bala, Fatuma Ali Saman and Njeri Onyango.
Ipoa was among the independent institutions that came about after the promulgation of the Constitution in August 2010.
The authority was created “to conduct impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitoring of National Police Service (NPS) to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism in the interest of the public”.
From the time of its establishment on June 2012 until December 2017, the authority had received 9,248 complaints which have given rise to 60 cases before court and four cases and petitions finalised.
One of the prominent investigations undertaken by Ipoa that resulted into a conviction was against ex-Githurai police officer Titus Musila, alias Katitu, who was recently found guilty by the High Court of intentionally killing Kenneth Mwangi six years ago.
But the authority has also been beset by internal and external challenges that have hindered them from fully executing their mandate.
“Foremost is the suspicious relationship between NPS and Ipoa, which has led to an ambivalence coexistence.
"This relationship has often slowed down Ipoa’s investigations. A reconciliation attempt by former Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko led to a tripartite agreement involving the Inspector-General of Police, Ipoa and ODPP but this was short lived,” Dr Mabonga said.
The Authority also suffers from lack of countrywide reach as it currently has presence only in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Garissa regions meaning there is lack of awareness among the public.
According to Dr Mabonga, while Ipoa has done fairly well since its establishment, there are quite a number of things that remain unfinished.
“There is need for a new strategic plan since the current ends with the outgoing board. Secondly, the new board will have to find ways of mutual coexistence with other key players in pushing forward the police reforms agenda,” he said.
He further says that review of staff remuneration is another business that will need to be prioritised “since the Sarah Serem team tenure ended before Ipoa’s evaluation was concluded.”
Internally, as is the case with most of the independent bodies that came about as a result of the 2010 Constitution, Ipoa has not been immune from the push and pull between the policy arm and the secretariat.