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Reshuffle of officers not the answer - Cotu

BUSINESS
By | Jul 21st 2011 | 3 min read
By | July 21st 2011
BUSINESS

By Standard Reporters

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has blamed the government over the ongoing go-slow within the police force saying the officers' work under deplorable conditions.

Atwoli warned that the government was treading on dangerous grounds if it continued to ignore the ongoing go-slow within the force.

He said that cosmetic changes by the government including transfer and reshuffle of officers was not a remedy to the issue of salaries.

“It is time the government allowed the force to have a spokesperson elected by themselves through a trade union and be given the mandate to negotiate for their own terms and conditions like their counterparts elsewhere”, said Atwoli.

In a press statement sent to news rooms, Atwoli said it is absurd the government is handling the matter casually with a section of government and other senior officers within the force dismissing the go-slow when it is evident all is not well.

Atwoli defended the force saying the officers have continued to work under deplorable conditions characterised by low pay and poor terms and conditions of service for many years.

“It would be mere public relations gimmick for the government to continue talking about reforms in the police force. They have frustrated and suffocated all avenues of dialogue by the force”, said Atwoli adding that attempts to negotiate for better remunerations through trade unions even after recommendations from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has hit a snag.

He appealed to the Minister of Internal security, Public Service and Treasury to seriously interrogate and examine issues raised by the force and allow for the registration of a police union as recommended by ILO.

Reshuffle

Atwoli’s remarks came as thirty-seven senior officers were on Thursday moved in a reshuffle aimed at posting commanders to new county divisions in the country.

The changes announced by Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere saw a number of them promoted and posted as new division commanders (OCPDs).

They are supposed to report to their new stations by the end of July.

Further, the new commanders are supposed to master their areas ahead of the general elections of 2012.

Anger

Meanwhile Police officers have expressed anger over Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s remarks that their pay hike may hurt the economy.

Disgruntled officers threw police operations in Nairobi into confusion when they jammed their communication gadgets for the seventh day running in a go-slow.

“They have jammed even the traffic channel, which is threatening the movement of the president. We do not know what to do for now,” said a senior officer who asked not to be named.

Several officers who called The Standard wondered why Uhuru is reneging on a policy that had been put in place by both the Cabinet and Parliament that their salaries and allowances be improved.

The Cabinet and Parliament adopted the Philip Ransley report on police reforms that proposed hike of police salaries and allowances.

Uhuru told a parliamentary committee on Budget that if pay demands by police are approved, they would earn higher salaries than army and other civil servants.

The second phase of police salaries and allowances  was budgeted to cost Sh9 billion.

Internal security assistant minister Orwa Ojode said treasury had provided Sh2.3 billion, which is half of the budgeted money to enable police get a 28 percent increase as planned.

“They gave out half of he money but negotiations are still on to see if the officers will get the full money. We cannot tell for now if they will earn the money or not,” said Ojode.

The first phase was paid last year.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has also asked the government to honour its pledge and pay the full second phase of the police salaries and allowances.

Chairperson Florence Jaoko said because police do not have a trade union to agitate for their rights, it is important that the government honours its pledge and pay the monies in full.

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