Police chiefs recall former lawmakers’ bodyguards

The National Police Service has recalled all officers who were assigned to guard former members of the National Assembly and the Senate.

In a circular to all regional commanders and formation heads, Deputy Inspector-General in charge of the Kenya Police Joel Kitili said the move was as a result of “the severe personnel constraints currently facing the service arising from growing demand to respond to a number of security challenges”.

The leaked document, dated September 25, also instructed the commanders to recall officers assigned to guard former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

“The three former holders of the defunct offices will retain only one officer as bodyguard, and officer to guard only one designated residence at night,” says the circular, signed by Mr Benson Kibui on behalf of Mr Kitili.

MOVE CRITICISED

Mr Odinga, Mr Kalonzo and Mr Mudavadi are opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) co-principals. Mr Odinga took part in the August 8 General Election in a bid to unseat President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Making reference to a section of a statement from Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet that was issued on the same day, Mr Kitili instructed that only one officer should be assigned to each member of the National Assembly and the Senate.

Over the past two days, Nasa leaders have criticised the move, saying it was a ploy by President Kenyatta to intimidate and frustrate members of the opposition.

The security personnel for Mr Odinga and Mr Kalonzo were recalled on Monday, a day before Nasa demonstrations held outside the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices in Nairobi.

VIP SECURITY

The protesters were seeking the removal or resignation of the electoral agency’s officials ahead of the repeat presidential election.

Others who were stripped of their security detail include individuals not approved by the National Security Advisory Council.

The council, whose mandate is stipulated under Article 240 of the Constitution, is chaired by President Kenyatta and is made up of Deputy President William Ruto; Cabinet Secretaries for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Interior; the Attorney-General; the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces; the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service; and the Inspector-General of the National Police Service; among other officials.

Apart from the rationalisation of the VIP security, the National Police Service also asked the commanders to review the number of officers deployed to guard private premises such as financial institutions.

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