Kenya police officers use vetting forum to vent frustrations

NPSC chair Johnston Kavuludi
KAKAMEGA: The just-concluded vetting of traffic police officers in Kakamega was a blessing in disguise for some men and women in blue.

The exercise provided a platform for officers to share with their bosses the frustrations and challenges they encounter at their workstations.

One such police officer was police constable Sylvester Rotich who is based in Malaba. Mr Rotich got a rare opportunity to paint a clear picture to the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) of the happenings in the service.

The disgruntled officer told commissioners Murshid Mohammed and Ronald Musengi to look into the criterion used in transferring and promoting officers.

He lamented about various cases where a junior officer suddenly became senior, but some officers who had worked in the service for many years had neither been promoted nor transferred.

Mr Mohamed agreed it was a challenge and noted they were doing everything within their power to restore sanity in the service.

"It pains sometimes when you see a person join the force when you are there and then get promoted ahead of you," lamented Rotich.

Another police constable, David Ndunda Nthenge of the Kitui traffic base, complained he had previously attended forums meant to assess his competence and had passed the interviews, but was never promoted. "I wish to be a corporal one day," he said.

The vetting panel also learnt that some senior police officers still harass their juniors to collect money from motorists and other road users.

The meeting further exposed the common means police use to advance graft in the service. In Kakamega for instance, there is one MPesa agent officers work with to make transactions.

Commissioner Mohammed sought direction from western region police commander Moses Ombati to understand where the Mpesa shop was located and why most police officers deposited huge sums of cash there.

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