President Ruto: We’ve rescued police service from influence of politics

President William Ruto inspects a guard of honour during the Administration Police pass-out parade

President William Ruto inspects a guard of honour during the Administration Police pass-out parade at the National Police College Embakasi A Campus in Nairobi on January 11, 2023. 

Photo credit: PCS

President William Ruto has said his administration has liberated the police service from political and bureaucratic control and relocated its budget from the Office of the President to that of the Inspector-General of Police.

Speaking during the 58th pass-out parade for Administration Police officers at the National Police College Embakasi A Campus in Nairobi yesterday, Dr Ruto said the service was more autonomous, professional and better resourced, while officers enjoy conducive terms of employment and working conditions.

“Without autonomy, the police service is vulnerable to weaponisation, making it a threat, instead of the solution to challenges in our security and law-and-order sectors,” said the President.

His administration, Dr Ruto added, is also well on course towards optimising the police-to-citizen ratio.

“We are doing this by recruiting and training more police women and men continuously to ensure that Kenyans have access to responsive and effective police protection throughout the country,” he said.

In September last year, then National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani shifted the financial responsibilities of the National Police Service from the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination. The move was in line with the pledge made by President Ruto during his inauguration.

Mr Yatani told former Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai that he would be the accounting officer in charge of money allocated to the National Police Service in the 2022/23 financial year.

In his inaugural address, Ruto said that the Constitution provides for the Inspector-General of Police to exercise independent command over the National Police Service. 

Operational autonomy

He, however, noted that operational autonomy has been undermined by what he described as the continued financial dependence on the Office of the President.

The Ministry of Interior is domiciled in the Office of the President with the Principal Secretary being the accounting officer. Dr Ruto said this has seen the police being controlled by the ministry instead of operating independently as provided for in the Constitution.

“As I address you, I have instructed that the instruments conferring financial autonomy to the National Police Service by transferring their budget from the Office of the President and designating the Inspector-General as the accounting officer be placed on my desk for my signature this afternoon,” President Ruto had said at the time.

Yesterday, the Head of State called on“every police officer to be mindful of the need to maintain relations of mutual respect with members of the public as a matter of necessity.” 

“This is because citizens are their employers, citizens’ rights and freedoms are constitutionally protected and also because cordial relations with the public enhance police capacity to keep citizens, their communities and property safe,” he explained.

The police were also advised to adhere to their motto — “Utumishi Kwa Wote” (Service to All) — as part of their contract and commit to doing their utmost in delivering on it.