The Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ Facebook and Twitter pages were buzzing with all manner of juicy crime stories when George Kinoti was at the helm of the agency.
The language, humour and diction served readers with ready entertainment as online users thronged the pages for crime-related news.
As DCI’s audiences grew on social media, the agency expanded its content production by launching its own magazine called “The DCI” on April 28, 2020.
To show how important the new product was, the DCI live-streamed the magazine’s launch on Facebook in April 2020. The event was attended by, among others, DCI chief George Kinoti and the then-Director of Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) John Gachomo.
During the launch, the then-Police spokesperson Charles Owino, who was present at the function, said Kinoti was passionate about public consumption content because he (Kinoti), shortly before being appointed the DCI boss, was the Director of Corporate Communications at the National Police Service.
“You (DCI detectives) may do a lot of work here, but if it is not documented, then it may not be of importance to us in future. So, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will read this [DCI] magazine 100 years to come and get to know that we were here and this is what we did,” said Owino.
“The magazine is also important for transforming our systems. I’ll like to thank you (Kinoti) for putting the map of the police at a very high level.”
In his speech, Kinoti said the launch of the magazine “was a first of its kind in Kenya’s DCI history”.
“I have been in the police service for the last 28 years, and when I was a police constable for four years, I dreamt of starting a DCI magazine, way before I became the DCI boss.
“I always believed that a publication is one of the strongest tools that the police can use to reach the media and the citizens. I wanted to ensure that what we do can be seen through the content of that magazine.”
“When we are open, Kenyans can know what we do. Outside there, people allege so many things. If we (the DCI) aren’t doing any evil, whatsoever, then why should you (DCI detectives) hide what you are doing?”
The Standard understands that it’s this desire to be “open” to the public that made Kinoti empower the DCI communications team to make bold narrations about crime incidents and the DCI’s works on social media.
Kinoti went ahead to encourage the hiring of police officers who were gifted in writing to take up publishing roles at the directorate.
In the DCI magazine, for instance, the agency published in August 2022 a story by one Mike Mugo of a firearm stolen from a police officer and used in committing at least 30 robberies. The DCI said ballistic analysis linked the firearm to the crimes.
As of August 2022, the DCI Magazine, launched in April 2020, was in its sixth edition.
In one of its humorous narrations, the DCI on its Twitter page on August 28, 2022 titled a post: “City thug takes a dose of own medicine after attacking an undercover detective”.
The story starts with: “One armed thug was fatally wounded last night (August 27, 2022) in Eastleigh, when he accosted a man walking from a mosque who turned out to be an undercover detective…”
The narration said the fatally injured suspect's accomplice tried to escape on a motorbike after robbing the police officer of his mobile phone and wallet.
“As Corporal Abu dashed down to disarm the miscreant, his accomplice quickly jumped on the getaway bike, gave it two spirited kicks and as fate would have it, the damned beast failed to start. In one swift move, the thug then jumped in a water culvert by the roadside as Abu rained a torrent of shots towards him from his prone position, perforating his hind quarters severely. But the determined thug chose to flee with the life threatening injuries than surrender and face justice.”
In yet another story titled: “Cop suspected of killing a man he found in bed with his wife goes into hiding”, and published on August 26, highlighted an incident in which a Turkana police officer allegedly fled after fatally beating up his wife’s paramour.
The cop was alleged to have found his wife having sex with the victim in their matrimonial bed on August 22, 2022 night.
“An altercation then ensued and the paramilitary commando is believed to have descended on the man with an avalanche of heavy blows and kicks before leaving him for dead and taking flight.”
The two highlighted stories represent an overall outlook of how the DCI told its crime stories on social media pages, especially after George Kinoti was appointed to lead the agency in January 2018.
Kinoti had the ear and blessings of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who appointed him four years ago.
It’s his good relationship with Kenyatta and his perceived disapproval of Kenyatta’s deputy at the time, William Ruto, that made the DP claim that Kinoti was out to antagonise his 2022 presidential bid.
Ruto, now president, said Kinoti had weaponised the war on graft and other crimes to target his (Ruto) allies.
Activities on the DCI page began reducing when Ruto was declared the president-elect on August 15, 2022.
And when the Supreme Court of Kenya rendered its decision on September 5 upholding Ruto’s election as Kenya’s fifth president, the DCI’s crime narrations began to fade.
Ruto, who got 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent) to be declared the presidential race winner, was sworn into office on September 13.
Ruto, a UDA candidate, defeated three other candidates in the August 9, 2022 presidential race, including first runner-up Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja, who got 6.94 million votes (48.85 per cent).
After Ruto’s swearing-in on September 13, the DCI page went quiet, save for two posts on September 14 and September 30.
On September 14, the DCI said on Twitter that rumours of resignation of seven of its officers that previously arrested Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira MP at the time) in connection with graft allegations were misleading.
Gachagua was one of the strongest critics of Kinoti and how the DCI conducted its duties.
“The DCI attention has been drawn to allegations doing rounds in social media insinuating forced resignation of seven DCI officers. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations clarifies as follows: That like in any other progressive institution, resignation of staff to pursue other interests in life is well provided for in the National Police Service. Therefore, the officers reported to have resigned, did so under the 24-hour rule on diverse dates last month (August, 2022) and were not forced to leave.”
On September 30 – the only second post after Ruto’s swearing-in on September 13 – the DCI tweeted Kinoti’s goodbye letter to Kenyans as he exited the agency following his resignation on September 27.
“The 11th Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, has this morning handed over office to the new acting Director-General Dr. Hamisi Massa. This follows his (Kinoti’s) resignation a few days ago as announced by President William Ruto,” said the DCI.
The Standard understands that the fate of the DCI communications team that had been assembled by Kinoti remains unclear.
The National Police Service Commission has since advertised a vacancy in the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations, with applications closing on October 6, 2022.