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America welcomes changes at Vigilance House, calls for more

By | September 9th 2009

By David Ohito

The US Government has welcomed the change of guard at the Kenya Police headquarters, but called for more.

The US insisted far reaching reforms are still needed in the force.

President Barack Obama’s administration said: "The US has consistently made clear the need for fundamental reforms to strengthen the rule of law in the police force and the Judiciary. The changes announced today are a potential first step."

The statement sent through the local embassy in Nairobi called for a serious consideration of the final recommendations of the Taskforce on Police Reforms.

"We are willing to work with the new commissioner and with the Coalition Government to support institutional reform of the police. We look forward to early consultations with the relevant authorities regarding how this can be accomplished," the statement read.

Reform agenda

It said fundamental police reform would be a positive development in implementing the reform agenda.

"We hope the Government will also move forward in undertaking much-needed reforms in the Judiciary to enhance the fight against corruption," it added.

Separately, the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has called for an overhaul of the police force to achieve international standards.

ICPC Executive Director Wainaina Ndung’u said: "The new situation demands the police change their role from one of a coercive colonial model to keep up with modern times."

He added: "This calls for immediate implementation of the preliminary recommendations of the Police Reforms Taskforce, handed over to the President."

He said the appointment of the new Commissioner of Police is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

"We maintain the former Commissioner of Police must account for atrocities committed by the police under his watch," he said.

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