Kenya National Civil Society Centre condemns unwarranted attack of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA)


KNCS Executive Director Suba Churchill/Photo Courtesy


By Hubzmedia reporter


The Kenya National Civil Society Centre (KNCSC) condemns unwarranted attack of the
Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) on December 16, 2022 by the Cabinet
Secretary for Interior and National Administration, Prof. Kithure Kindiki and the Inspector
General of the National Police Service Japhet Koome, during the 4th memorial
ceremony for 53 Police and 4 Prisons officers respectively who have died on duty since
November 2021.

While the civil society sector, as indeed all Kenyans feel for families and loved ones of
security officers who lose their lives and limb in the line of duty, turning such a solemn
occasion earmarked and dedicated to celebrating heroes and heroines from the public
security sector who have paid the ultimate prize and lost their lives in the line of duty
into a platform for attacking an oversight institution established to ensure that the
National Police Service and its officers strive for the highest standards of
professionalism and discipline among its members was uncalled for, unjustifiable and
indefensible, the circumstances notwithstanding.

The KNCSC would like to remind the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National
Administration, Prof. Kithure Kindiki, and the Inspector-General of the National Police
Service, Japhet Koome that the offices they hold for the time being are creations of the
Constitution and as such, they must at all times act within the restrains contemplated
under Article 10 of the Constitution that demands of them to be guided by the National
Values and Principles of Governance, including the rule of law, accountability, respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms, human dignity, social justice and non-
discrimination in the discharge of their duties.

The KNCSC found it particularly disturbing that the Cabinet Secretary spent a
considerable amount of time during his speech at the memorial ceremony audaciously
and openly urging the police to use live ammunition on suspects, an issue on which all
police officers are properly and adequately guided by the National Police Service Act
and the National Police Standing Orders. This amounts to directing the police on how to
enforce the law.

The Inspector General of the National Police Service, Japhet Koome promptly took the
cue, and in the process went overboard, denigrating the Independent Policing and
Oversight Authority (IPOA) as a “busybody”.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority is a State institution established through
an Act of Parliament and that has done a commendable job providing civilian oversight
over the work of the police in Kenya since its establishment in 2011, holding to account
individual police officers who have misused firearms put at their disposal to protect life

and property, with most those found culpable indicted for extra-judicial killings in
circumstances that did not warrant the use of force of fire arms.


This act by the Inspector-General, of framing and portraying IPOA as a meddler,
nuisance, and unnecessary interferer is in total disregard of the principles of national
security under Article 238 of the Constitution that requires all State security agencies to
guarantee protection against internal and external threats to Kenya’s territorial integrity
and sovereignty, its people, their rights, freedoms, property, peace, stability and
prosperity among other national interests.


Besides, Article 238(2) of the Constitution goes further to direct that all actors in the
provision of national security in Kenya shall be subject to the authority of the
Constitution, and be guided at all times by the law, and conduct themselves with utmost
respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The
KNCSC, therefore, takes this opportunity to remind the Inspector-General to act
independently at all times, because he will always be held to account on his own, and
verbal comments from his boss and Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National
Administration under whose influence he seems to have been carried away won’t save
him from individual accountability.


While the Constitution allows the Cabinet Secretary responsible for police services to
lawfully give direction to the Inspector-General with respect to any matter of policy for
the National Police Service, the same Constitution bars any person, the CS included,
from giving a direction to the Inspector-General on how to enforce the law against any
particular person or persons. Such direction by the CS to the Inspector-General must
also be in writing. The Inspector-General would, therefore, be treading on slippery
grounds were he to act on the authority of verbal comments made by the CS as he
seems to be doing. He would also risk possible removal from office pursuant to the
provisions of Article 245 (7) of the Constitution on grounds of serious violation of the
Constitution or any other written law, including the Independent Policing Oversight
Authority Act.

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