|Police officer Pius Makori outside his makeshift bathroom at the Kericho police station staff quarters. [PHOTO:NIKKO TANUI/STANDARD]|
By Standard Team
Kenya: A police constable fleeing from starvation and bandits in a remote post of Isiolo ten years ago collapsed and died after having trekked for more than 100km.
The officer, Muthui Kamunya, then aged 20, had just graduated from Kiganjo in 2003 when he was posted to the crime-torn region of Kom, Merti.
He and his colleagues ran out of supplies and had no option but to walk after their vehicle broke down just as cattle rustlers were making forays in the area.
A spot check by The Standard found that even in the face of heightened security threats, many police stations and other security installations are in a pathetic state and the officers manning them are living in filthy conditions.
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A classic example is Isiolo police station, which has witnessed a number of banditry attacks. For the last three weeks, the station has been plunged in darkness because the Kenya Power company disconnected power over Sh80,000 bill.
The situation is the same at the Embu County police headquarters where darkness has reigned for the second consecutive week after the electrical system of the quarters blew up.
Embu County Police Commandant Willis Okello is, however, blaming the junior officers for the blown-up transformer, accusing them of over burdening the control unit by using coils and water heaters, which consume high power voltage leading to frequent outages at the offices and residential quarters.
Things are worse in Turkana County, specifically Kibish district at the Elemi Triangle, the disputed boundary shared between Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. Here, Kenya’s security officers have no vehicles and have to rely on donkeys to patrol the disputed border.
The worst hit area is Kemoithia, a remote escarpment in the northwestern corridor of Kibish district where Kenyan soldiers posted to this frontier believe they are being punished by the State.
“We live here by the mercy of God. We are the forgotten ones. We are always staring at death, as our houses are full of bullet holes. We lack almost all the most basic needs,” a security officer who sought anonymity said.
The Standard team witnessed some donkeys with yellow inscriptions of the old Land Rover models GK 109, GK 110 on their bodies at Kemoithia watering point.
The donkeys were carrying jerricans of water and foodstuff as armed police officers escorted them to the top of the hill.
Kibish Police Commander Mohammed Dahir confirmed that the officers have always had transport challenges.
“We have a big transport challenge. We have waited for a vehicle to be stationed here but nothing has happened. The officers are always on foot and use donkeys as the only means of transport to access watering points,” said Mr Dahir.
In Samburu County, police officers in Wamba, Baragoi and Maralal stations are living in deplorable houses, which they categorise as condemned. Toilets and bathrooms are no longer functional.
In Baringo County, majority of police officers are literally roasting in tin huts, which are the only accommodation at Marigat, Mochongoi, Loruk, Mukutani and Nginyang police stations.
“The station is very old, it was probably built in the 1990s and up to now, it is yet to be refurbished,” said Otulia Kaunya, area OCPD describing Marigat police station.
In Maralal police station, which serves as the county headquarters, most residential houses are in pathetic condition with more than 90 per cent of the officers living in condemned houses.
A top security officer revealed that Baragoi police station did not get the vehicles provided by the Government and was facing a severe shortage of drivers after the police service recently transferred four officers at once.
Police in pastoralist areas in Baringo County hustle in the scorching sun to respond to insecurity incidences but retire to shanties due to poor housing.
In Nyeri County, Karaba Police station was opened last November land has flush toilets with no water and the officers have to harvest rain water or fetch it from Kamunyu river, after office hours.
Reports by Boaz Kipng’eno, Wilberforce Netya, Charles Ng’eno, Boniface Gikandi, Lydiah Nyawira, and Robert Kiplagat.