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IG Mutyambai: Why we are recalling VIPs bodyguards

By Cyrus Ombati | Apr 28th 2019 | 3 min read
Inspector General of Police Hillary Nzioka Mutyambai (2nd R) with his predecessor Joseph Boinnet (L). [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai has vowed to continue recalling bodyguards assigned to a number of VIPs after it emerged some of them had more than the allowed number.

Mutyambai said the move is part of the implementation of a transformational agenda geared towards making it more professional, responsive, and people-centred as envisioned by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

He said an audit revealed that some VIPs had more than the allowed number of officers, while others had gone further to reassign the excess officers to unentitled entities.

“We also discovered that some close protection officers were from units which are not specialized for such duties.”

“The reorganization process is therefore necessary for us to have order and ensure that the protection of a few is not at the expense of service delivery to the majority of Kenyans,” he said.

He added they are recalling officers assigned to protect some of the vital installations.

“This will affect some of the persons who have been enjoying protection from multiple officers but the result will be a more harmonized and well-coordinated close protection service by the police.”

Mutyambai said police will continue to serve all Kenyans in a non-partisan, highly responsive manner guided by a high fidelity to the law to ensure that all are able to live in a secure and safe environment.

The police boss said the on-going reform process aims at creating an efficient and effective Service capable of meeting the needs of 21st Century policing.

So far he said they have reviewed the systems of command and control and carried out a reorganization of the command structure of the service with a view to improving service delivery to Mwananchi.

The service has also harmonized the command and control structures of the various formations and specialized units.

A number of VIPs have lost their bodyguards in changes in the past month. They included Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and a number of Members of Parliament.

The latest was Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who moved to court seeking orders to stop authorities from taking his two bodyguards and pistol.

His legal team contends the refusal to renew his firearm licence was politically motivated, adding that it was an attempt to exert pressure on the lawmaker.

Further, the politician accused secretary of the Firearm Licensing Board Charles Mukindia of intimidating him when he went to renew his licence on Thursday, April 25.

Barasa asked the court to compel the firearms board to renew his licence and the state barred from recalling two police officers attached to him.

About 12,000 officers are assigned to VIPs as drivers, bodyguards and messengers.

Kenya has more than 100,000 police officers. The UN recommended police to civilian ratio is 1:450.

A team headed by former Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni had proposed that some of the officers assigned to VIPs be released to undertake their core responsibilities to avoid a case where they are underutilised by being deployed to work for a few VIPs at the expense of the majority.

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