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BBI will enhance safety and security

By CORNEL RASANGA | March 23rd 2021
Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga (Collins Oduor, Standard)

Studies by the World Bank Group have found that safety, security and justice are major concerns for citizens.

Safety and security represent many things, including a stable income, consistent housing, clothing, and food supplies as part of the predictability of daily life, protection from crime, and psychological security.

The studies also conclude that there is a sense among poor people that insecurity and instability affect them more than the well off, whether through crime and violence, conflict, or through unresponsive, corrupt and abusive security actors such as the police.  

Through its own surveys, the Department for International Development (DfID) posits that shortfalls in safety, security and justice contribute to both poverty and underdevelopment.  

Conversely, the presence of safety, security and justice can contribute to development outcomes including virtuous cycles of security and development, ‘with high levels of security leading to development and development further promoting security’. It therefore did not come as a surprise when the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) received views from Kenyans, largely expressing their fears over the current security circumstances.

They are grappling with a range of issues, among them natural hazards and disasters, food insecurity and drought, land fraud and forceful dispossession, resource-oriented conflicts occasioned by boundary conflicts and competition for water and pasture, violent crimes, unsolved murders, terrorism, cyber-crimes, runaway theft and the proliferation of sub-standard goods.

Consequently, there was a common understanding on the need for a new approach to provision of security. Key recommendations include modernisation of police systems, improved work environment for the disciplined forces and redistribution of policing, investigation and prosecution resources to address the delay in delivering justice to the poor.

One of the recommendations that stood out was the strengthening of the government’s investigative arm, including the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). Accordingly, these recommendations have aptly been captured in the BBI report and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020.

To begin with, a new Article 246 establishes the Kenya Police Council, which shall consist of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Internal Security as the chairperson; the Inspector General (IG) of the National Police Service (NPS); two senior members of the NPS units appointed by the president; and the Principal Secretary in the ministry responsible for internal security. The Council shall be responsible for overall policy, control and supervision of NPS; and perform any other function prescribed by national legislation. Secondly, there is a proposal to amend the Constitution by inserting Article 246A, establishing the Independent Policing Oversight Commission (IPOC), and hold members of the NPS accountable to the public.

IPOC shall be the successor to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) established under the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Act, 2011. The members of the Board of IPOA shall become members of IPOC for their unexpired terms, but each shall retain the terms of service as at the commencement date.

The Bill seeks to amend Chapter 14 of the Constitution on National Security to merge to provide clarity on the unity of command in the Service. Clause 64 proposes to amend Article 240 to include the Prime Minister as a member of the National Security Council.

Clause 65 of the Bill proposes to amend Article 243 to include the DCI as a third arm of the NPS. Clause 67 of the Bill proposes to amend Article 246 to harmonise certain functions of the commission with the function of centrality of command by the IG.

Human rights

Clause 66 proposes to amend Article 245 to provide clarity on the centrality of command by the IG to the Police Service. The amendment further provides that the DCI shall be headed by a Deputy Inspector-General.

As the country continues to witness a technological revolution, data security becomes paramount. Consequently, the Bill seeks to amend Chapter Four of the Constitution on the Bill of Rights to provide a constitutional underpinning for privacy of personal data of citizens as an emerging area in human rights owing to technological advancement.

There must be a commitment to ensuring safety, security and justice for all citizens, which are seen as moral rights and intrinsic to development. Good policing, targeted social interventions and an efficient judicial system are needed to help our nation thrive. BBI and the first amendment couldn’t have come at a better time.

Mr Rasanga is Governor, Siaya County


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