Ongoing turf wars at the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) are startling to say the least. Coming at a time public confidence in the police service is ebbing away, the push and pull within the board can only mean a lot is at stake.
The row sparked by the controversial reinstatement of suspended CEO Maina Njoroge has left board chairperson Anne Waceke Makori a lone-ranger, defied and belittled by other board members.
Njoroge was sacked earlier this month by the board after a year of service, having been appointed by the exiting Ipoa board chaired by Macharia Njeru against the advice of Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
Now, board members and the chair are talking at cross-purposes. Last week, the Police Reforms Working Group, a consortium of 25 civil society organisations, waded into the matter. Unfortunately, confusion has persisted. Our fear is that Ipoa, the sole agency mandated to check on excesses of the National Police Service, risks being turned into a playing field of chaos.
In the past, we’ve seen parochial interests ruin service delivery in government. We call upon board members to resolve their differences in the interest of the country. If need be, let relevant agencies such as the Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security and the Public Service mediate. The importance of Ipoa in preventing impunity by enhancing accountability within the police force cannot be gainsaid. But with a divided board, rights abuses and other unethical police actions will return to haunt us.
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