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Disbandment of killer police unit, Cohen case top security events

Some of the major events in the security calendar this year have been the appointment of new police chiefs, the disbandment of the feared police unit Special Service Unit, and the rebuilding of the Flying squad.

Within its first 100 days in office, President William Ruto's administration implemented significant changes in the security sector.

The president stated that the national security agency reforms are aimed at realigning the police to fit the UDA administration style based on their manifesto.

In his early days in office, the president, who had openly expressed his displeasure with the Inspector General and the DCI, announced the departures of Hilary Mutyambai and DCI boss George Kinoti.

Targets

During the campaign, Ruto, the then-deputy president, and his running mate, Rigathi Gachagua (then Mathira MP), said the two security officials were used to target them.

And, after defeating ODM leader Raila Odinga in the August elections, Ruto announced he had accepted Mutyambai's resignation as IG and Kinoti's resignation as DCI.

Mutyambai, who was in and out of the hospital for treatment at the time, still had about five months left on his four-year term as IG.

The departure of the two senior security commanders triggered a new search for officers to fill the two powerful positions. Following a thorough interview by the National Police Service Commission, Mohammed Amin, the former Police Internal Affairs unit boss, was chosen to succeed Kinoti.

Former Kenya Police College commander Kiganjo succeeded Mutyambai as the IG at Jogoo House, the National Police Service's headquarters.

The changes had no effect on the two Deputy IGs, Noor Gabow (Administration Police) and Edward Mbugua (Kenya Police). Mbugua will leave office in June when his two-year extension contract expires. Gabow could continue to serve as DIG at the president's pleasure.

Major DCI changes

After taking office, DCI director Amin announced major changes that affected DCI operations across the country. He began by disbanding the elite DCI unit Special Service Unit (SSU), one of his predecessor's favourite units.

Some of the unit's officers were previously linked to the mysterious disappearance of two foreigners and a taxi driver who were members of Ruto's presidential campaign team.

On October 16, Acting Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow announced the dissolution of the SSU.

President Ruto also said he had ordered the unit to be disbanded after it went rogue and began carrying out extrajudicial killings.

The decision to scrap the unit was later revealed to be based on an investigation report by the National Police Service Internal Affairs unit into the disappearance of two Indians and their taxi driver on the night of July 23.

According to the IAU report, officers from the elite unit picked up Mohammed Zaid Sami Kidwai, Zulfiqra Ahmed Khan, and Kenyan Nichodemus Mwania Mwange as they returned to their rented apartment on Mombasa Road.

They were last seen alive leaving a nightclub in Westlands and were reportedly on their way home.

Involved in abduction

The IAU has since determined that some DCI officers from the now-defunct elite unit Special Service Unit were involved in the abduction of the three.

Eight SSU officers have since been charged in connection with the men's disappearance, but have been released on bond pending the outcome of the case.

The fight pitting former DCI boss and DPP Noordin Hajji was also among the major events that shaped the security calendar.

This battle was so vicious that even after leaving office, some top security officers who were seen to be close to the former DCI are still haunted.

Cohen case controversy

Following the controversy over affidavits filed in court, former DCI head of Investigations John Gachomo was ejected from the powerful docket. An affidavit sworn by Gachomo on the murder of Dutch businessman Tob Cohen was at the centre of this controversy.

Gachomo said he was forced to lie and sign an affidavit implicating a judge in the murder of Dutch businessman Tob Cohen.

Gachomo said his former boss Kinoti duped him into signing the document that implicated the judge in Cohen's murder.

"I can confirm that the contents of the affidavit dated September 27, 2021, are neither based on facts nor documents from the file held by my office. The contents of the said affidavit are false and therefore retract, deny any knowledge and could not have been uttered by myself.”

The affidavit was deposited at the High Court Constitutional and Human Rights Division in Milimani.

The top investigator told the court that Kinoti had only given him a one-page document and directed him to sign.

At the time, the DCI boss told Gachomo the affidavit was urgent and that the office of the Attorney General would file the same in court.

"I complied with the directive by signing the one-page document on the understanding that the contents of the affidavit will be the official facts and documents held in the investigations file in respect of the matter," Gachomo said.

On September 27 the Office of the Attorney General filed the affidavit and it was only after Gachomo saw some of the contents in the media that he requested his boss to provide him with a copy of the filed documents. He is currently on leave awaiting redeployment.

The Standard
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