Treasury told to release Sh5 billion for security
| February 1st 2013
By Ally Jamah
A police reforms watchdog has asked the Treasury to provide at least Sh5 billion to the police to effectively provide security during the March 4 General Election.
In their latest report about police preparedness for the elections, the Usalama Reform Group expressed concern that a month before election, it was not clear how at least 66,000 police officers will be fed and transported around the country to respond to security challenges.
The police will also need allowances for the ten days they will be working with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, providing security in transporting and securing ballot papers and boxes as well as keep order in polling stations.
“General Elections are one of the largest security operations for the police. You cannot expect them to use their current operational budget to do that massive job. But unfortunately, we are seeing political games being played by top officials of Treasury and Internal Security. No firm commitments have been made to release the money as yet,” said Charles Otieno, a consultant for the group.
He said not providing funding in good time amounted to indirect sabotage of the police capacity to maintain security as 14 million Kenyans go to the polls.
Last November, the Police Service requested Sh5 billion from Treasury, but so far, no money has been released. Sources indicate that the Government is only willing to release Sh1.5 billion, a figure seen to be far short of police requirements.
The watchdog also called on the Government to immediately make available at least 2,200 vehicles to the police to facilitate their efficient movement during the polls.
The co-ordinator of the forum, Phillip Onguje, suggested that special arrangements can be made with other government agencies to temporarily loan vehicles to the police as long-term arrangements are made.
“There is a perception that since the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo is in office, security will be guaranteed during the elections. But people forget that police leadership needs the logistical and financial support to execute their mandate and that support has not been forthcoming. Security during the elections appears not to be a priority,” he said.
He added: “We don’t want a situation where when there is a security problem before, during and after the elections the Inspector General and his team are quickly blamed yet they didn’t receive the support they required,” he said.
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