Ruto, AG sued over nomination of Japhet Koome to Police IG job

Japhet Koome, commandant of  the National Police Service College, Kiganjo. 

Japhet Koome, Commandant of  the National Police Service College, Kiganjo. President William Ruto has nominated him as Inspector-General of Police. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The petitioner wants the court to issue an order to stop Mr Koome, or any other person nominated without due process, from taking up the position of Inspector-General pending determination of the lawsuit.

A doctor has sued President William Ruto and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki over alleged illegal nomination of Japhet Koome to the position of Inspector-General of Police (IG).

Dr Magare Gikenyi, a Consultant Trauma and General Surgeon, says the President’s decision is unlawful and unconstitutional since the nomination of the IG should be done by the National Police Service Commission (NPSC). 

He says Dr Ruto, in nominating Mr Koome, exercised powers that are allocated to the NPSC and also failed to allow the procedure provided for in law to be followed.

“The President is giving himself powers which he does not have. Only the National Police Service Commission initiates the process once a vacancy in the office of the Inspector-General becomes available. The president has no powers to recruit the IG single handedly,” said Dr Gikenyi in court papers. 

How Police IG is recruited

He has based his argument on the provisions of Sections 12 of the National Police Act, which gives a procedure on how IG is recruited/appointed, and Article 245 of the Constitution. The Act states that whenever a vacancy arises in the office of the Inspector-General, the Commission should within 14 days by notice in the Gazette and at least two other daily newspapers of national circulation, declare the vacancy and request for applications.

The Commission then considers the applications, conduct public interviews and shortlist at least three persons qualified for the position.

After shortlisting, the commission is required to forward the names to the President within seven days for nomination.

Within seven days of receipt of the names, the President should by notice in the Gazette, nominate a person for appointment as Inspector-General from among the shortlisted names and submit the name of Parliament for approval.

The Act adds that Parliament should, within 14 days after it first meets after receiving the name of the nominee, vet and consider the nominee. It may either approve or reject the nomination and notify the President of its decision.

If Parliament approves, the President is required to appoint the nominee within seven days. 
But should Parliament reject the nominee, the President will submit a fresh nomination from among the list of persons picked by NPSC.

Dr Gikenyi says the nomination of Mr Koome, who is currently Commandant of the National Police Service College in Kiganjo, failed to follow the legal procedure.

“This action of the President and the Attorney-General will lead to loss of public confidence, anarchy and outright abuse of power against independent institutions. It is important to maintain constitutionalism, rule of law, law and order, good governance, non-discrimination and protecting of the constitution,’ says Dr Gikenyi in court papers.

“This ultra vires, null and void and unconstitutional action of the President needs to be stopped for the sake of rule of law. If the same is left unabated, the independence of the inspector general and police service commission will be lost/eroded,” he adds.

He wants court to certify the petition urgent and issue an interim order barring President Ruto and the Attorney-General from proceeding with intended appointment of Mr Koome as the Inspector-General of police.

He also wants the court to issue an order to stop Mr Koome, or any other person nominated without due process, from taking up the position of Inspector-General pending determination of the suit.

President Ruto announced nomination of Mr Koome on September 27, 2022 after announcing that the current inspect general Hillary Mutyambai had decided to proceed on terminal leave following his health condition.

In the lawsuit filed at the High Court in Milimani Nairobi, Mr Koome, NPSC and the National Assembly are listed as interested parties while Dr Ruto and the AG are the respondents. The petition is awaiting hearing directions.