Iteere and CID director Ndegwa Muhoro are technically in office illegally while Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua has resigned to run for Governor in Nakuru County. Although the National Police Service Act provides procedure for appointing an Inspector General even without the Commission, President Kibaki and the PM kept the country guessing on the appointments.
There are also diverse opinions as to whether changes at the top hierarchy in the police should be made with only six months to elections. Those against the changes say the institution is too sensitive and critical for the polls to be stirred at this moment. Others insist it is a constitutional requirement, which is long overdue.
Mr Macharia Njeru, chairman of the Police Oversight Authority (POA), said the Inspector General must be appointed before the General Election. “Parliament must fast track the process of appointing members to the National Police Service Commission, as the security of the people and the country is important as we go to the electioneering period,” said Njeru.
“It is good the principals have agreed on the names and forwarded the list to Parliament, but MPs must know that the matter is weighty and needs to be dealt with at the earliest opportunity,” he added.
Ms Ndung’u’s official term ended in April after being in acting capacity since December last year. The process of picking Ndung’u’s successor stalled in Parliament after names for nominees for a committee to pick a replacement was tabled in the House well after the due date.
The office is to regulate, monitor, investigate and supervise political parties to ensure they comply with the law, manage the Political Parties’ Fund, ensure publication of audited annual accounts, and verify and make public the list of parties’ membership. Mr Willis Otieno, programmes manager at the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, says the political class wants weak institutions in place ahead of elections to preserve their power.
Otieno says the registrar is finding it increasingly difficult to enforce the law fully because she is only in office in an acting capacity. The registrar maintains a list of parties and their symbols, checks against double membership, and investigates complaints.
A Nakuru High Court suspended the appointment of Mumo Matemu as the EACC chairman in May, after a petition by a lobby group that held it was illegal and unconstitutional. It had, however, been approved by Parliament and gazetted by President Kibaki. Matemu and two other commissioners Jane Onsongo and Irene Keino have not taken up office after court stopped their swearing-in.
The matter has since been referred to the Chief Justice for direction and the office, together with those of two other members, remain vacant.
The EACC’s determination of candidates’ unethical conduct, including corruption, could end some political careers. Eight commissioners of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) must also be appointed after terms of the current holders lapsed last week, including the chairman, Mzalendo Kibunjia.
The NCIC was without a deputy chairman after Mary Onyango died on March 31. At least two cases related to hate speech involving MPs have been initiated by the NCIC, raising a storm in political circles.