In this interactive series, we invite readers to send in questions to select public figures. This week, Johnstone Kavuludi, the chairman of the National Police Service Commission, responds to your questions.
I am a former Kenya police corporal, I lost my job following an accident while serving at Madogo Police Station in 2009. I appealed against my dismissal to the then Commissioner of Police but the appeal dragged on for three years and, when the response came in December 2012, I was advised to appeal to the National Police Service Commission which I did. Up to date, your office has not communicated to me yet my family and I live in abject poverty following my dismissal. Do I have any hope of ever getting justice; having selflessly served my country and even earning a promotion in 2008?
Ex Cpl Ali Wambete
The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) cannot process an appeal until facts surrounding a case are established from the officer’s records and presented to the Commission’s board by the Inspector-General; an issue that slows down the handling of an appeal. Other than file perusal there is need to undertake required investigations regarding the matter under appeal. The appeal process should be expeditious and results of appeal should be made known to the appellant in the shortest time possible.
What’s your opinion on the changes that have been passed by Parliament on the Acts governing the NPSC and the National Police (NPS)? Don’t you feel the changes are an affront to Article 246 of the Constitution?
Bill Omboki, Kisii
In 2014, the NPSC Act went through amendments in Parliament, these amendments touched on various sections of the Act, including provisions on membership of the Commission, functions and powers of the Commission and conduct of Commission meetings. These amendments, have however not affected the running of NPSC in any way as they are not in conflict with the Constitution.
It has been over a year since the Administration Police potential NOS course 1/2016 was officially declared over but since then nothing has happened. Don’t you think it was a disservice to those who undertook the course?
Samuel Maina, Nairobi
This matter has now been properly placed before the Commission which is processing the same with a view to making the necessary determination for promotion of the officers. The Commission urges the officers who undertook the course to be more patient.
After vetting the police, nothing seems to have changed: Bribe taking, clobbering, unlawful arrests, participation in crime and partisan politics within the “reformed” police service. Is this a case of NPSC also joining the rot?
Joseph Goro, Embakasi
Vetting is a part of the reform process and is not the core mandate of the Commission. The core mandate of the Commission is human capital management through regulatory controls. The main aim of vetting is to unpack the manner in which officers indulge in professional misconduct and hence we must appreciate policies that have been put in place to address these concerns. Following a declaration by the Commission that a vetted officer is competent and suitable to serve leaves any other professional misconduct committed by the officer thereafter to the NPS who will be expected to initiate relevant disciplinary proceedings and forward the same to the Commission for determination.
Good work in vetting police officers, but has it been brought to your attention how officers collect bribes openly at the Kandara flyover after the Ruiru toll station and at Engen on the Thika-Garissa Road?
Carey J. Ndwiga, Thika
Corruption is a social vice that we all condemn. The Commission jointly with other government agencies have put in place mechanisms to fight it. It is upon society to change their attitude and stop enticing police officers with bribes. Those involved, both the giver and taker, should be reported to the relevant authority for action.
In the course of vetting the officers, members of your Commission on various occasions have been accused of taking huge bribes either to retain or reverse decisions on corrupt officers. What is your take?
Joy Wandera, Kakamega
In keeping with article 47 of the Constitution, fair administrative action requires that an officer under a disciplinary mechanism has to be given a fair opportunity to defend themselves and the same applies to vetting.
One such mechanism offers the officer a chance to apply for a review which is also provided for in the vetting regulations. Once the Commission grants this review, and finds value in the issues raised by the officer, it will reinstate them to service. This could be the reason some people would mistakenly perceive the Commission as having undertaken such a reversal due to undue influence; notably the decision having been arrived at as a result of corruption, a view that is borne out of misinformation and failure to understand the vetting regulations which require that an officer must be taken exhaustively through due process.
Mr Chairman, what is your view on the amendments by the National Assembly on the NPSC and NPS Acts that took away the power of recruiting the Inspector-General (IG) of Police from the Commission and transferred the same to the President? Don’t you feel these changes have rendered the Commission toothless?
Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Malindi
The manner in which the recruitment of the Inspector-General IG) is done is prescribed by an Act of Parliament and the institution mandated to by the Constitution to make, amend or remove provisions of the law is Parliament which is composed of all Kenyans. Any amendments to the law cannot be viewed as removing powers from one entity and giving it to another. The Commission has a central role in providing a shortlist of competent persons suitable for appointment as IG, the deputy and Director of Criminal Investigations. The Constitution has given the President powers to appoint the IG and hence there has been no amendment to the NPS or NPSC Act that is in conflict with the Constitution.
I voluntarily retired at the age of 50 years after serving the police for over 30 years. My retirement was with effect from June 3, 2016. Since I was servicing a bank loan, I had requested that my dues be remitted through the same bank for ease of deduction of the balance. Unfortunately, it has taken time and my efforts to get my dues have been fruitless even after giving out all the required documents. The problem now is that the bank is calculating interest for every month money is not remitted in my account. Kindly assist. My personnel number is 230485/1986091770.
Mathew Oberi Agesa, Vihiga
You should confirm whether your retirement was approved in the first place. You then need to counter-check with both the Service and the Pensions Department to know the status of your retirement package. The matter is currently not within the functions of the Commission.
Corruption has been rampant during the police recruitment. In fact, because of corruption, the 2014 exercise had to be repeated following a court order. What mechanisms are you putting in place to deal with this shameful trait?
Alex Mugendi, Tharaka Nithi
Corruption and other malpractices within the Police Service are gradually being rooted out due to the changes undertaken by both the Commission and the Service. Indeed, there have been significantly fewer complaints raised in the last three recruitment exercises.
There are huge disparities in police officers’ salaries and those of civilians working in the Police Service. When are you going to harmonise the salaries and allowances?
Edwin Ndegwa, Nairobi
The disparities in salaries have been a feature of the entire Civil Service and that is why the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) was set up to harmonise salaries of all officers. In fact, the NPSC has a dedicated representative seconded to the SRC to give focus on harmonisation of salaries of officers in the NPS.
My father Moses Miti Mukenya died in 2000 while working at Central Police Station Nairobi ( No. 52911). The family has never been paid any pension/benefits. My mother has tried to follow up the matter up to Vigilance House, but her efforts have been frustrated. It has even been reported that the file No. 52911, which contains my late father’s details, is missing. How best can your office assist in this matter?
Peter Miti Mukenya, Kangemi
Please forward this complaint to the Chairperson NPSC with copies of all relevant documents for deliberations by the relevant committee.
What do you think of government sourcing for recruits into police service from the National Youth Service (NYS).
Samwel Ralph Nyongesa
Recruiting police officers from the NYS would violate provisions of the Constitution which, among other things, require that the NPS recruits are from every corner of the Republic and is done in a transparent and accountable manner. In addition, the NYS was created for a specific purpose and not as an exclusive source from which to recruit police officers.
I am a campus student with a passion to serve this country in the Criminal Investigations Department. What should I do?
The NPS advertises the recruitment of constables and other specialised staff such as lawyers, pilots, doctors for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Such vacancies are posted in the media and relevant websites.
Through vetting, your commission has made notable attempts to weed out some corrupt officers in the service. What is the position as we speak? Since you started vetting, how many officers have left service for failing the integrity test?
Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi
Vetting is still ongoing. However, it is worth noting that it is not narrowed to an integrity test but rather intended to determine suitability and competence to be retained in the Police Service as part of the transition process. So far, 206 officers have been found unsuitable to continue serving. The Commission is, however, still handling some reviews, including cases where the courts have directed the Commission to re-vet some officers.
As the first chairman of NPSC, how would you rate your performance? How has your working relationship been with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA)?
Komen Moris, Eldoret
Komen Moris, Eldoret
The Commission has done well in carrying out its constitutional mandate of recruitment and appointment of officers, determination of promotions and transfers. Our relationship with IPOA is cordial; the functional relationship is that IPOA investigates complaints against officers; it then becomes the duty of the Commission to undertake due process before determining disciplinary action.
Sir, Kenyans get disturbed whenever some actions are attributed to the police who are supposed to protect us. Extra-judicial killings, outright corruption and involvement in crime are some of these. Are we to expect improved service in future?
We can confirm that huge strides have been made to modernise the Service including revamping of its training curriculum. Not only can we look forward to a great future but I can confidently assert that there is a tremendous improvement in the services provided by members of the NPS.
What is your office doing for police officers who sacrificed their little earned money to go to school to further their studies. I know you are aware that they are still servicing high bank loans?
Geoffrey Onyiego, Kisii
There are a number of training programmes for police officers towards their promotion. We urge police officers to take advantage of these courses which are paid for by the Service and are beneficial to their future needs. In consultation with the NPS, the Ministry of Interior and the Directorate of Public Service Management, the Commission has approved a scheme of service which takes into account higher qualifications attained by officers within the service. Once officially launched, salaries’ disparities currently witnessed will be in the past.
How can someone participate in a police recruitment exercise every year for eight years without success, but only end up with a different feedback every time? In your position, what can you do help?
Bonny Mwambli, Embakasi
The criteria for recruitment are well established and documented in the recruitment regulations. A person lacking requisite qualifications cannot be recruited despite multiple attempts.
Sir, on June 1 at Kabiruini grounds in Nyeri you sat next to the
former Prime Minister Raila Odinga following the proceedings of that day’s Madaraka Day celebrations. At some point you were conversing with the NASA flag bearer. How did you feel when Mr Odinga was not even recognised at such event and what do you have to say?
Chrispine Onyango, Kabianga
The fact that a dignitary has been invited to a State function denotes recognition; other issues are political nuances which as a State Officer, I cannot speculate on.