Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi’s move to review security for VIPs, with a view to reducing the number of bodyguards assigned to them by 50 per cent, is welcome as much as it is long overdue.
Among the many reasons given for the rise in crime rates across the country is the lack of adequate police officers to meet the police/civilian ratio of 1 to 450, in line with recommendations of the United Nations. Ironically, the police department has assigned more than 11,000 police officers to guard politicians, yet they could be of greater use to the public.
Once, former Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, with a bevy of menacing security men, swooped on a Nakuru street, causing a stir. It was a show of might. While serving as Nairobi Senator, Mike Sonko used to move around with heavily armed security personnel, causing public outcry.
Several times security details assigned to Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) were withdrawn, but what raised eyebrows was why they had so many bodyguards in the first place. One wonders why leaders should have as many as 20 armed men trailing them, even in social places like eateries and pubs. Does it speak about lawlessness in Kenya?
All this is for showbiz. And it does not benefit the taxpayer in any way. Other than the President, his deputy and other VIPs considered high prize for security threats like terrorists, who wants to harm, say a governor?