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A divided force: Koome directs police to ignore promotions call

 Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome, has warned police officers not to apply for any position advertised by police employer - the National Police Service Commission (NPSC).

On Friday, the Eliud Kinuthia led NPSC in an advertisement in local dailies that called on senior police officers to put in their applications for promotions.

"The Commission hereby invites applications from qualified Police Officers to fill the following positions at the National Police Service," read the advertisement in part.

Peter Leley, the Commission CEO said Executive Order No. 1 of 2023 of January 6, 2023, recognised the independence of the National Police Service Commission and National Police Service.

NPSC said it is committed to implementing the provisions of the Constitution, Article 232(1), on fair competition and merit, representation of Kenyans' diverse communities and affording equal employment opportunities to men and women, members of all ethnic groups and persons with disabilities.

NPSC said shortlisted candidates shall be required to produce originals of their National Identity Card, academic and professional certificates and transcripts during interviews, and meet the requirement of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

Hours after this advert went out, Koome issued a communication to all police formations and commands directing that no police officer should apply for the advertised positions.

"My attention has been drawn to an advertisement contained in the local dailies inviting members of the national police to apply for the vacancies outlined. I, therefore, direct that all officers under your respective commands should be informed to ignore the advertisement and that any officer who fails to heed the directive may face disciplinary sanction," Koome said on Friday.

There has been disagreement between the IG and the Commission chair over a recent promotion of 500 senior police officers. NPSC has since denounced the promotions announced by the IG.

Last Tuesday, Koome announced the promotions of senior police officers to the rank of Police Superintendent and above.

Hours after the announcement by Koome, Kinuthia issued a warning that the police employer had not ratified the promotions.

Kinuthia, who spoke to the Standard on phone, said: "The purported promotions are null and void."

The Commission further addressed the issue in a press statement signed by Peter Leley, the NPSC CEO.

Kinuthia warned that the officers who had been issued with promotion letters without the input of the employer risk facing disciplinary action for obeying unlawful orders.

Further, he said the Commission had written to the Director of Pensions at Treasury warning him not to confer any financial benefits on the officers promoted by the IG.

"They (police officers) can choose whether to wear the illegal ranks but they should know that they will be held individually accountable," Kinuthia said.

Earlier on, Kinuthia was scheduled to address a press conference on the same matter at a Mombasa hotel, but the press briefing was cancelled without an explanation.

In the press statement issued last evening, Kinuthia accused the Inspector General of acting unilaterally without following the promotion guidelines.

"The Inspector General should recall his illegal actions as they totally flout various constitutional principles and is failure to uphold the rule of law by a State officer," the statement read in part.

The statement further announced that the Commission had nullified the promotions by Koome and asked officers who had been promoted to keep their old ranks and badges.

The CEO warned that police officers who will receive any cash benefits based on the promotions by the IG risk being surcharged.

"The Commission shall hold personally liable any member of the service who implements such directive on promotions without a written determination of the Commission," read the statement.

On Tuesday, Kinuthia denounced the promotions of over 500 senior police and termed the exercise as illegal.

Kinuthia has also urged the Principal Administrative Secretary of the NPS to refrain from implementing any promotions or related payroll decisions based on Koome's actions.

A spot-check by the Standard revealed that a majority of the officers who have received their promotions are already donning their new rank despite the warning by Kinuthia.

Some of these senior officers who spoke to the Standard said they acted on the instructions of their seniors.

"I'm yet to get any official communication directing me not to don the new badges of rank," said one officer.

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