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Police vetting style a mockery of reforms

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | August 29th 2016
When the much-touted vetting of officers of the Kenya Police Service started, Kenyans were excited; that finally the much-maligned yet critical institution would get cleaned up. PHOTO: COURTESY

When the much-touted vetting of officers of the Kenya Police Service started, Kenyans were excited; that finally the much-maligned yet critical institution would get cleaned up. Sadly, what was aimed at separating the wheat from the chaff has thrown up the most bizarre.

Alas, nearly three years later, Kenyans have witnessed the most hilarious, at times numbing form of melodrama on TV. From police officers hard-pressed to say one commendable thing they have done after years in the service to the difficulty to explain the source of tens of millions in their bank accounts.

Quite admirably, the officers have perfected the art of side hustle. Yet therein lays the rub.

The officers seem to be making more from rearing fish, goats, sheep, buying and selling grain and livestock than from their core duty; maintaining law and order. Who doesn’t want a job that effortlessly brings in Sh200,000 on a bad day? A senior police officer said he earned Sh10 million from “selling fingerlings” on his farm. Quite remarkable, isn’t it? No doubt, such a handsome return requires time and resources.

When do the officers work for Kenyans? Yet the irony is that the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) led by Johnston Kavuludi seems the least worried about the officers’ divided allegiance. You cannot serve two masters. If for nothing else, that should prompt action.That lethargy, deep-rooted corruption and extortion exist within the service is not in doubt.

Parading the officers’ worth does nothing to a service in need of an image overhaul. Indeed, it mocks a public wondering where the police officers are when gun-wielding gangs attack them and rob them of all of their life’s worth, sometimes leaving loved ones dead. Hopefully,

Mr Kavuludi and his team will relate cause and effect in the cases presented before them. Asking officers about their horoscopes (as he did last week) does little to reinforce the confidence the public had in the process. It risks turning into a whitewash of sorts.

 

 

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