David Kimaiyo sworn in as first Inspector General of Police

By LUCIANNE LIMO                  

Inspector General of Police David Mwole Kimaiyo took oath of office with a pledge to restore security.

Kimaiyo, a former Director of Police Operations, Monday assured Kenyans that his immediate task would be to eradicate insecurity that has been rife in the country.

“From the local petty criminals, terrorists who continue to senselessly kill and maim Kenyans, drug dealers who sell drugs to school children, kidnappers, carjackers, robbers right to murderous criminal gangs such as Mungiki, Taliban, Chinese squad and American marines, you have nowhere to hide and you cannot win. We shall hunt you down and bring you to book,” warned the first Inspector General. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga told Kimaiyo he was getting into office when the nation was mourning deaths in Tana River and also the recent killings of police officers in Samburu.

“These deaths, and others like them, are a stark reminder of the dangerous times in which we live. They are also a signal to change the way the police work and how the public perceives their work,” the CJ said after swearing the first IG into office at the Supreme Court Monday. Dr Mutunga said it was not acceptable for a country with functional intelligence and police services to be repeatedly struck by waves of violence and death.

Kimaiyo assured Kenyans that the police force would be more friendly in order to combat crime by enabling the public to easily report the vice and suspicious acts. He urged the public to speak to the police more, saying the service could make the process much easier by getting involved in neighbourhood meetings.

 “I make this pledge to Kenyans that the National Police Service shall ensure that you live and earn your livelihood in a peaceful and secure environment,” he said. He reiterated that the police should give the public information about crime and policing in their local areas and how criminal justice works in order to effectively combat crime.

“Involving local communities in fighting crime will help restore trust in the police and we shall be in a better position to reduce incidences of crime drastically,” he added.

Kimaiyo also stressed the need to urgently reform police remuneration and conditions of employment and to reward skills and performance in crime fighting. “The existing police pay structure is archaic. It has not factored in the tremendous changes in police responsibilities over the years,” he noted.

He promised to work closely with the National Police Service Commission to negotiate with Government and lobby Parliament and other stakeholders to provide adequate financial allocation to ensure that police officers get good salaries, proper kitting, housing, transport, equipment, medical cover and other requirments.

He blamed the slow pace of reforms in the service to limited budgetary allocations and appealed to the Government to provide adequate funds to assist them carry out significant reforms. On elections, Kimaiyo assured Kenyans that the police under his watch would do everything possible to forestall a recurrence of post-election violence witnessed after the 2007 presidential polls.

“I promise Kenyans that the police service shall deal firmly with any person who will attempt to sabotage the holding of peaceful elections. We shall not tolerate any acts of violence during this important period, “he said. He urged politicians to conduct peaceful campaigns and be cautious in their speeches and desist from potentially divisive activities.

Mutunga noted Kimaiyo’s biggest test would be how well he leads the police in preparing for and managing the elections early next year. “Police preparations for elections must go beyond numbers and force of arms. The credibility of the service is not secured by force of arms alone, but by the authority of every officer to uphold the law, to do what is just and right for all of us,” he said.

The CJ said officers must be reminded that election time was not an open season for crime in all its manifestations. “The law is the law and it has to be enforced regardless of what day of the week it is. We have fallen into bad habits in recent times,” he said.