National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga has criticised President Kenyatta for usurping the role of independent agencies in appointing top police officers.
Raila said the changes in Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Administration Police (AP), Kenya Police and General Service Unit (GSU) were made without reference to the institutions that are empowered by the Constitution to do the work.
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He accused Uhuru of sneaking back imperial presidency and personal rule that had caused so much pain to the country in the past.
“The spirit of the Constitution and the mood of the people of Kenya is that the National Police Service and indeed all independent constitutional offices must remain independent, particularly of the presidency and free from political interference,” said Raila.
He said Uhuru had taken over the powers of the National Police Service Commission and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
Last week, Uhuru dropped Ndegwa Muhoro as DCI boss and appointed George Kinoti to the position in acting capacity.
Also dropped were Joel Kitili and Samuel Arachi, as Deputy Inspector General in charge of Kenya Police and Administration Police respectively, replacing them with Edward Njoroge Mbugua and Noor Gabow.
The trio has since taken over at their respective positions.
“We, however, feel firmly that the spirit of our hard-won Constitution must be respected and that nobody must sneak back into the country the personalisation of the State and its organs,” said Raila.
Article 245 (3)
The Constitution, under Article 245 (3) stipulates that the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service shall each be headed by a Deputy Inspector-General appointed by the President in accordance with the recommendation of the National Police Service Commission.
In addition, Article 246 (3) states that the commission shall recruit and appoint persons to hold or act in offices in the service, confirm appointments, and determine promotions and transfers within the National Police Service.
When making the appointment, Uhuru relied on Article 132 (2) (f) that states that "the President shall nominate and, with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint, and may dismiss any other State or public officer whom this Constitution requires or empowers the President to appoint or dismiss."
He also relied on Section 17 of the National Police Service Act which states that the President may remove, retire or redeploy a Deputy Inspector-General at any time before the Deputy-Inspector General attains the age of retirement.
However, section 13 of the same law states that whenever a vacancy arises in the Office of the Deputy Inspector-General, the President shall on the recommendation of the Commission within 14 days from the date the vacancy arises appoint a suitably qualified person to serve as Deputy Inspector-General
According to Raila, the changes were masked with the partial naming of the Cabinet because the President did not want them to attract too much attention and scrutiny.
“It appears that the first agenda of the Jubilee regime in the New Year is to complete the undermining of the security sector reforms which the country badly needs in line with the Constitution. Kenyatta knew he was acting against the spirit of the Constitution and trying to reintroduce through the backdoor what his mentors in Kanu perfected years ago,” said Raila.
Raila said besides the Constitution, the public is entitled to information on why public officers are being hired or fired, what was their failure and who identified the replacements, adding that the appointments now mean the officers owe allegiance to the sole appointing authority, not the public.
The Opposition leader further claimed that soon President Uhuru would move to other independent offices, like that of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and fill them with people appointed to do his bidding.