Blue police uniform here to stay, Kibicho tells Gachagua

Police uniform

Police officers with the new uniform during the National Policing conference held at the Kenya School of Government on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has rubbished comments by Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua on the police uniform, saying the current one was a carefully considered choice that was endorsed by the relevant government committee.

He said the Uniform Committee that has the final word on police uniforms approved the blue colour to represent the unified attire following the merger of the Administration Police and the Kenya Police under the Kenya Police Service.

PS Kibicho said politicians criticising the new uniform are insincere as they ought to know the circumstances and the process surrounding the adoption of a neutral colour to symbolise the merger and the abandoning of the previous AP and the Kenya Police signature colours.

“Uniforms are not just a matter of colour. They signify certain doctrines that must be appreciated whenever a merger occurs. It is disrespectful for (Mathira MP) Rigathi Gichagua, who, being a former government administrator, knows too well the role of the Uniform Committee, to contemptuously dismiss the careful considerations that informed the new uniform,” the PS said.

While criticising the blue uniform, Mr Gachagua had also threatened that a new Kenya Kwanza government will withdraw and donate them to the Presbyterian Church that traditionally kits members of its Women’s Guild in blue dresses and head gears.

Unfortunate disparage

Speaking on Kameme FM, the PS termed the threat an “unfortunate disparage” of the church and accused the MP of opposing police reforms because the government had used the opportunity to get rid of entrenched cartels that have previously dominated procurement in the police.

He said police uniforms are now being wholly made in Kenya by local textiles firms based in Thika, Kitui, Nakuru and Eldoret under a Buy Kenya, Build Kenya government drive that had also significantly cut down costs.

This enabled the hiring of more officers and the modernisation of police equipment, he said.

“By cutting out the cartels that had infiltrated our police procurement, we have been able to modernise our Service and raise the ratio of police to citizens to 1:380 well beyond the UN recommended 1:450. We were also used to our officers protecting us with rungus. But we have now made sure our officers have enough guns and other tools of work,” the PS added.

He cited a comprehensive medical and group insurance cover as other key investments undertaken under President Kenyatta's administration. The police service now recruits degree holders into its cadet service with the recruits emerging as direct-entry police inspectors, he added.

“We want to professionalise the police service so that it stops being a dumping ground for those who fail exams. We are building a service that will attract some of the best brains in our country,” he said.