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Governors demand operationalisation of County Policing Authority as police bosses "resist"

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati and Roselyne Obala | January 3rd 2018
A section of the governors at a past function [Willis Awandu| Standard]

Governors are pushing for activation of the County Policing Authority to help them manage security in the counties.

Some county chiefs are accusing police of being skeptical and generally opposing it over fears it might duplicate their perceived duties.

It is understood some senior people in the Office of the President are opposed to the start of the activities of the agency at the counties over fears that it may be a forum for  even sharing intelligence briefs.

Security issues

But the governors say those opposed to the move misunderstand its agenda and have been pushing to be involved in security issues to help address rising crime in counties.

The operations of the authority had been gazetted in January 2015.

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia said yesterday he would constitute a team to bring on board all key stakeholders to discuss issues security, demystifying the strong opposition from the Government that it amounts to interference with police work.

“My county will be the model policing authority. The Nyumba Kumi initiative cannot resolve some issues that affect the people. The authority is also not about law and order,” explained Mr Kimemia.

He explained that security was still needed in water, education, health, and infrastructure and not necessarily law and order as perceived and that the agency would  provide a forum to follow up on the concerns with the security officers.

“I understand the law and I will ensure it is well managed. I will bring on board MCAs, MPs, religious leaders and the private sector,” he said.

“There is a difference in chairing intelligence meeting; this is not within our purview. Governors can also not chair these meetings because if they are suspects in some crime, it would be very difficult to prosecute,” added the governor.

He stated that although security issues come with some risks, the involvement of the county leadership is key.

“With MCAs and local administrators on board, it becomes easy to know the happenings. Security starts with the people. The goodwill among the people can go a long way in restoring public confidence,” he advised.

The Council of Governors (CoG) pushed for the formation of the agency and it was included in the Pesa Mashinani crusade geared towards constitutional amendments.

Meetings between governors, security bosses and the interior Cabinet Secretary in the past have not yielded any meaningful deal, with the Government adamant that security is its exclusive function.

The concerns come two years after President Uhuru Kenyatta met governors and announced they had activated the agency but nothing has happened so far.

The two sides met at State House in 2015 and agreed that the new agency would brief the national government every two weeks on the state of security in the counties.

Created under the National Police Service Act, the authority, to be chaired by governors, is meant to ease community policing and management of security in the counties.

Section 41 of the Act says the authority will be headed by the “governor or a member of the county executive committee appointed by the governor”.

Governors will appoint six of the 13 members of the authority from the business sector, community-based organisations, women, people with special needs, religious organisations and the youth.

Members of the authority include the governor, as the chairperson, a representative of the National Intelligence Service and county representatives appointed by the Inspector-General of Police, who shall comprise the heads of the National Police Service and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations at the county level.

Others include two elected members nominated by the county assembly and the chairperson of the County Security Committee.

There has been resistance from some quarters in the police service to the establishment of this agency.

Every agency in counties shall prepare, publicise and submit quarterly reports to the Inspector-General, Cabinet Secretary, county assembly and governor, the law says.

The Act further states the authority will not interfere with the investigation of any particular offence or offences.

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