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Report: Police don’t respond to public

By | August 19th 2009

By Beauttah Omanga

The Police force tops the list of departments failing to respond to public concerns.

In the latest report complied by the office of the Public Complainants Standing Committee (PCSC), the police failed to respond to 104 correspondences sent to them by the Ombudsman followed by the Provincial Administration with 77 cases. The Ministry of Labour is third with 55 cases.

But PCSC has since its establishment successfully taken action on 22 per cent of the 1,720 complainants received from the public since July 2007 to June 30, this year.

Committee chairman James Simani said: "We are at least working and having managed to get results for 22 per cent of complaints we have received. It is not too bad".

PCSC Chief Executive Kenneth Mwige said private companies partially owned by Government were also notorious in ignoring inquiries by the office of the Ombudsman.

Undergoing inquiries

"We are frustrated because we send inquiries to Government offices but they do not get any response at all and we need powers to deliver effectively" said Mr Mwige.

He said some constitutional office holders and CEOs of parastatals feel they are too superior to be questioned about service delivery.

The team, while releasing the report at their offices yesterday said it has managed to have 371 matters resolved while 1,349 were undergoing inquiries.

Majority of complaints raised included delay in service delivery, misuse of office, injustice, inattention, unethical conduct, incompetence and inefficiency.

The report, the chairman said is with the President for action.

The officials expressed concern the ministries that ignored inquiries were also rated poorly in service delivery to the public.

"If the institution will not bother to even respond to inquiries by the PCSC, how much worse is it for the individual complainant who deals with such an institution?" posed the chairman.

Mr Simani said there was need to strengthen PCSC’s capacity to deliver, adding a Bill for debate in Parliament on empowerment of the commission has been drafted. Simani said the Bill seeks powers for PCSC to summon civil servants accused by the public to appear before it and also powers to demand documents from the same officers when need arises.

Government commitment

The chairman denied the commission was merely a suggestion box without powers to assist Kenyans. "Our office is not a suggestion box as accused. We are working and we have results to show," said Simani.

The quarterly report took issues with Government commitment to according women the promised 30 per cent representation in key State appointments.

The report said in part: "Judging from the complaints received and media reports, issues of gender and disparity in public service appointments remain a concern to Kenyans as the number of women in key positions has remained low".

The reports notes the disparity was despite the Government having signed and ratified several international instruments that impact on the gender issue. The report states cases of injustice and discrimination against women are rampant in the public appointments.

The PCSC was established under Section 23(1) of the Constitution of Kenya by President Kibaki on June 21, 2007.

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