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How secret training of APs got off to a bad start

By | Apr 10th 2010 | 4 min read

By Kipchumba Some

On December 21, 2007, an order was sent from the Administration Police headquarters in Utawala, Embakasi, Nairobi, recalling about 3,000 junior-level officers to the Administration Police Training College (APTC).

The purpose of recalling the officers was to train them to be secret polling agents of PNU, the

party on which President Kibaki sought re-election.

Most of the officers recalled were constables although there were a few inspectors. Also recalled

were a number of retired officers.

The order further stated that the officers were to come with civilian clothes. There was nothing

unusual in that, according to senior Provincial Administration officials.

"We get orders like those all the time," said a PC who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We learnt of the nature of mission they were going to undertake from the Press like anyone else. We

were shocked," adds the PC.

Our investigation has revealed that senior AP officials, members of the now disbanded Electoral

Commission of Kenya, leading academics, and senior civil servants who were in the President’s campaign,

conducted the two-day training.

Security question

Upon arrival, the officers were first required to surrender their work identity cards and uniforms.

They were also required to write down their names and their stations.

"We were then divided into several groups where different people came to train us," recalled an officer who went for the operation.

But the recurrent question among the officers was security.

Many thought it was a dangerous activity given the charged atmosphere.

"Probably the whole matter might have been called off if the officers resisted. But the lure of

money decided the issue. They were told there was going to be a lot of money," said the officer.

At APTC, there was little preparation in readiness for the officers.

All indications showed that this was a hastily convened operation.

Castration threat

"We slept on boxes on the floor. There were no blankets. If one was lucky to have a friend at APTC,

perhaps you got a blanket that you shared with somebody else," said the officer.

Throughout the training, anticipation was high among the officers that President Kibaki would

visit them. Indeed their superiors had told them that he would but he did not.

However, a top ministry official attended.

"But let it be known that a section of the AP high command was fiercely opposed to the proposal.

But they were overruled. They had no option but to toe the line. It would have been disastrous if the

AP high command would have appeared divided," said the officer.

Former Deputy AP Commandant Kaunya was among the officers who believed it was not procedural to send APs, a disciplined force, on a partisan assignment.

Indeed, as we found out, that was beginning of attempts to eject Kaunya from APTC.

Also present was a former top academic who is a confidant of President Kibaki.

"He came twice to the college. He just told us that we were doing a good job and that is why we

should act as the Government’s ‘eyes’ in the elections," said the source.

Contacted, the academic sent a statement through his public relations officer saying: "At no time

during the period preceding or following the 2007 General Election did he ever visit the said Kenya

Administration Police College either in his private or official capacity as he has never had any business to do with the said institution."

Surprisingly, a commissioner of the disbanded ECK also took part in conducting the training.

But when contacted she denied it.

"I do not remember going to the place you are talking about. We conducted so many trainings

during the period, so I might or might not have gone. But all the same, you should remember that

our roles were to read the chairman’s

(former ECK boss Samuel Kivuitu) speech in the meetings."

"Apart from vote manipulation, we were briefed on what to do when confronted with different

circumstances," said the officer.

"For example, one of us would shoot in the air to scare away voters giving us time either to stuff

the ballot boxes or just scare away voters," he added.

They were also to tally votes from their centres, add or subtract in favour of PNU, forward the results

to their team leaders who would then forward the same to the pro-PNU commissioners at ECK headquarters in KICC. They would then promptly announce the flawed results.

The whole operation almost aborted when on the morning of December 23, Mbugua called a

parade in which he announced that AP officers from Nyanza Province, regardless of their tribes,

were not needed.

He announced that they would be given Sh2,000 as fare back to their stations. Although he did not

give concrete reasons for doing so, it is believed they were being punished for leaking the operation to

the media.

"Fellow officers became angry that our colleagues were being mistreated. It created a lot of negativity

around the camp," said an AP officer present.

More trouble arose when more than 500 other officers were told that they could not proceed for the

mission due to shortage of money.

"The shortage was created by senior officers who apportioned themselves a substantial part of

the money meant for the officers," disclosed a source at APTC.

"We certainly did not expect the officers to react that way. Seeing the way the officers were reacting,

there was fear that the whole exercise would be jeopardised."

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