High Court declares police officer’s transfers unconstitutional

Vigilance House, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The court has declared a decision by the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) to transfer an officer to a sixth station within a short period of time unconstitutional.

Corporal Alex Nkanda is to remain in his fifth station - Magumu Traffic Sub-Base - where he is expected by the court to discharge his duties without any interference.

However, Justice Njagi Marete said the orders are not immune to Nkana to override the rules and regulations relating to its employment obligations.

“These orders are not in any way a limitation to the respondents in dealing and effecting normal work relations with the petitioner,” the judge said in the decision delivered on July 26.

In the landmark decision, the court said Nkanda had illustrated a case of unmitigated harassment on his part at the work place through "frequent and unjustified deployment by his seniors."

Nkanda had gone to court to protest the move by his employer to deploy him from Magumu Traffic Base in Nyandarua to Kizingitini Police Station in Lamu County, saying the orders were against his rights for fair labour practices.

In the landmark decision, the court said Nkanda had illustrated a case of unmitigated harassment. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

He told the court that on October 18, 2018, he was deployed from Thika police base to Magumu Traffic Sub Base but within six months he was deployed to Kaharati Police Station in Murang'a though the deployment was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the police officer, who named the NPSC, Inspector General of Police and his deputy as the respondents, his deployment to Likoni Mombasa County on August 17 last year was diverted to Kizingitini and while on duty in Thika, he was arrested by Thika West Commander and locked up for an alleged desertion of duty but was released without any charges.

“The frequent and consistent deployments are being used in a manner to be construed that they are being used as disciplinary sanction contrary to regulations 8(3) of the regulations and although they are camouflaged as deployments, they are actually transfers,” the police officer stated.

He termed the move by NPSC as a breach of his constitutional rights and a violation of the NPSC's regulations of 2015 guiding deployments.

Nkanda through his lawyer Wahome Gikonyo, said he decided to seek the court’s protection after the IG failed to respond to his appeal against the deployments.

However, the NPSC, in its defence, dismissed the claims and urged the court to dismiss the case, saying it was a ploy by the petitioner to attempt to disparage his bosses with a view to blocking his transfer.

“There is no nexus between the officer’s arrest and the alleged punitive and malicious deployment, he was arrested for deserting duty and was convicted in disciplinary action, on deployment, he has never appealed against it as he alleged,” reads the response by NPSC in part.