President William Ruto makes key changes in security docket

DCI George Kinoti and Inspector-General of police Hillary Mutyambai

Director of criminal investigations George Kinoti and Inspector-General of police Hillary Mutyambai. They have both resigned from office. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The new administration has effected major changes in the national security docket that saw the exit of Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti who had been criticised by President William Ruto during the campaigns.

Mr Mutyambai is set to be replaced by Mr Japhet Koome Nchebere the current Commandant of the National Police College in Kiganjo and former Nairobi County police commander. Mr Kinoti’s post will be advertised.

Garissa Town MP Aden Duale has been nominated as Cabinet Secretary for Defence, former Energy CS Monicah Juma as National Security Advisor and former Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as the CS for Interior and National Administration. Prof Kindiki’s in-tray, if confirmed, will include the volatile security situation in Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet Counties, which continue to experience waves of banditry attacks.

In his first Cabinet meeting yesterday, President Ruto authorised the deployment of formed police units in the affected areas to maintain peace and security.

Peace initiatives

“Cabinet further directed that the peace and security initiatives shall also integrate local communities and their leaders in joint peace initiatives aimed at ending decades-old communal tensions,” a brief from the meeting stated.

During the Cabinet announcement yesterday, President Ruto said that Mr Mutyambai had requested to proceed on a six-month terminal leave on medical grounds and that Mr Kinoti had resigned on undisclosed grounds.

“After discussing with Mr Mutyambai and in consideration of his service to our nation and his health situation, I have accepted that he proceeds on terminal leave for the six months that he still has of his contract.

“I have also received the resignation of ... Mr Kinoti and I have transmitted the same to the National Police Service to proceed with advertising that position and meanwhile they should get somebody to act in the place of Mr Kinoti,” said the President.

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

The names will be tabled before Parliament for vetting and approval or rejection.

The President is scheduled to kick off the sittings of the 13th Parliament with a joint address to both houses tomorrow.

“I am confident that working with this team, we will overcome all the challenges that are there,” said President Ruto.

The changes are seen as the culmination of the new administration’s vow to overhaul the security docket which it claimed was being used to suppress their campaigns and harass their supporters during the electioneering period.

Speaking at a rally in Kapkatet in Kericho in July, President Ruto accused Mr Kinoti of interfering with the work of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in reaction to a letter he wrote to the commission detailing how three Venezuelans were nabbed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with electoral materials.

“Save your time, stop writing long letters to us. Leave matters of elections to IEBC because you have no business running an election. You failed as DCI. We do not want you to fail us in this election. Stop annoying us and let IEBC do their work. Yours is a criminal investigation but you have never done anything. Wait for August when you will go home,” President Ruto said.

Shortly after their inauguration, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua ordered all detectives attached to government offices to vacate and return to their head office on Kiambu road.

‘Toxic environment’

“We have told DCI to go back to Kiambu Road and wait for crimes to be reported there. They have no business in government offices hovering all over and creating a toxic environment for service delivery,” Mr Gachagua said on the first day of the induction of the newly elected governors in Mombasa County.

Earlier, President Ruto had also hit out at Mr Mutyambai labelling him as the “most incompetent” police IG in the world.

The remarks did not sit well with Interior CS Fred Matiang’i who accused President Ruto of being bitter over unsuccessful business deals with Mr Mutyambai.

“The only problem with Mutyambai is that he refused to buy police boots for sh13,000 that were being sold by Ruto’s friends. Mutyambai only agreed to buy the boots for sh2,900.

“He also refused to buy bulletproof vests for900 dollars sold by your (Ruto’s) friends and opted to buy them directly from manufacturers. That is the frustration that is pushing you to abuse our Inspector-General of Police,” said Dr Matiang’i at the time.

War of words

During the campaign, Dr Matiang’i and Dr Ruto were involved in a war of words with close associates of the President accusing the CS of usurping his then roles as Deputy President following his appointment as chairperson of the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee via an executive order.