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Replacement at police oversight body IPOA begins amidst stifled opposition

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Fri, June 8th 2018 at 12:37, Updated June 8th 2018 at 12:45 GMT +3
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i handed end of term report from IPOA during a past function. The process of changing the board at the agency has began. [File, Standard]

The process for replacing Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) Board has started.

The process started after head of public service Joseph Kinyua wrote to a number of government agencies asking them to nominate names to form a selection panel to conduct the recruitment.

The former board chaired by Macharia Njeru left office in May. It was the first team under the new constitution.

Kinyua wrote to public service commission, judiciary, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and National Gender and Equality Commission asking them to nominate people to sit in the panel.

“The purpose of this letter therefore is to request your submission of nominees to the selection panel of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority,” read the letter.

The entities were asked in the letter dated May 25 to submit two names- a man and woman- to facilitate designing of a gender balanced panel.

This came as it emerged there were some hardliners within Government who were fighting to prevent appointment of a fresh Board arguing that it is an impediment to police work but President Kenyatta directed that a new Board is a must in compliance with the Constitution and international best practice in police oversight.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has been in the forefront pushing for a fresh Board in compliance with his promise when he met security sector stakeholders during the inaugural National Policing Conference at Kenya School of Government about two months ago.

Matiangi has also been in the forefront in pushing for better cooperation between police IPOA and Civil Society arguing that everyone has a role to play in ensuring better Policing in the country.

From the time of its establishment on June 2012 until December 2017, the authority had received 9,248 complaints.

One of the prominent investigations undertaken by IPOA that resulted into a conviction was against ex-Githurai police officer Titus Musila, alias Katitu, who was recently found guilty by the High Court of intentionally killing Kenneth Mwangi six years ago.

The authority has also however been beset by internal and external challenges that have hindered them from fully executing their mandate.

IPOA is a state agency established under Section 3 of the Independent Policing Oversight Act No. 35 of 2011 (IPOA Act), with the object and purpose of among other things, holding Police accountable to the public in the performance of their functions.

IPOA has a mandate among other things to investigate any complaints related to disciplinary or criminal offences committed by any member of the National Police Service, whether on its own motion or on receipt of a complaint, and to make appropriate recommendations to the relevant Authorities.

The creation and establishment of IPOA is in the context of the history of the Kenya Constitution, to be  part of the legal and policy agenda for transformation of the former Kenya Police Force into an efficient and accountable service.

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