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Guards on the firing line following VIP attacks

By David Odongo | October 3rd 2014

The recent attack on former Prime Minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kwale has rekindled debate on VIP security. The lapses are becoming a concern.

Not spared was Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, who was also caned by Karisa Lengo. The attacker was eventually restrained by private security personnel and handed over to the police.

Raila Odinga and Mvurya are not the first to be subjected in these glaring security lapses.

What if an attacker has a gun? That is the scary question.

A few weeks ago, Ndia MP Stephen Ngare was attacked by a panga-wielding man at a public function. Ngare was inspecting a CDF project in his constituency, specifically new classrooms in Ngando Primary School.

The school’s head teacher Sammy Mwangi was first attacked by the man who cut him in the head.

The MP’s bodyguard was also cut in the hand before killing the assailant.

A few months ago, Embakasi South legislator, Ishrad Sumra, was forced by an angry mob to wade barefoot through raw sewage and stagnant water along Catherine Ndereba Road in Imara Daima, Nairobi.

The road’s condition is so bad that matatus and taxis no longer use it and residents of Imara Daima are forced to alight two kilometers from their homes and walk.

When Sumra  visited the area, angry residents forced him through a stinky stretch so that he could suffer what they go through daily in the hope that the experience would force him to push for the rehabilitation of the road.

A large sign board was shortly erected in the area with the words ‘Lake Sumra.’  But the question is, where was the MP’s security when he was being humiliated in public?

Kenya has about 40,000 police officers against a population of 40 million.

That is one police officer for every 1,000 Kenyans, which is way below the UN recommended ratio of one police officer for every 450 people. It is hard to therefore justify deploying more police officers to be attached to specific VIPs.

Although cabinet and principal secretaries are officially entitled to at least two armed guards at their homes, The Nairobian has confirmed that at least three officials are known to each have 10 armed police officers in their convoys at any given time.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said they were trying to balance the demand to protect the increased number of leaders and the duty of ensuring there is sufficient security for all Kenyans.

“We are working on a policy to guide allocation of security officers to VIPs. The demand is high yet we have few officers,” Kimaiyo told our sister paper, The Standard.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki has about 30 police officers at his disposal.

President Uhuru Kenyatta enjoys the services of up to 200 police officers, while his deputy has a detail of 45 officers guarding him and his family.

Raila and former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka have 12 officers attached to them.

The speaker of the national assembly, Justin Muturi, has eight police officers, while Nairobi governor, Dr Evans Kidero, has 10 officers guarding him.

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