The dreams of Kenyan youth for much-sought- after careers in the Police Service have been thwarted by the sins of omission and commission by corrupt senior recruitment officers.
This follows the cancellation of by the National Police Service Commission of the appointments of 1,215 recruits carried out in 36 centres across Kenya recently. To make assurance double sure the Independent Police Oversight Authority has moved to court to seek cancellation of the recruitment.
This is sequel to growing disquiet at the General Service Unit (GSU) of the National Police with serving and former officers alleging rampant victimisation, corruption and harassment by senior officers.
Present and past GSU officers keep on speaking out on the rot afflicting the paramilitary unit whose headquarters is at Ruaraka in Nairobi. But Police headquarters has issued strident denials of any such rot.
The officers talk in hushed tones of arbitrarily dismissals, transfers or demotions on questionable grounds, with dozens opting to retire and seek jobs elsewhere because of constant victimisation and abuse.
Some officers based at the Embakasi Training School alleged that their superiors make illegal deductions from their pays-lips for non-existent medical insurance and camp maintenance.
“We wonder if expertise in corruption is a qualification for one to be promoted in the police service,” one of the junior officers decried.
But police headquarters dismissed the allegations as unfounded and malicious. Police spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki said Vigilance House –– the police headquarters –– had not received any complaints from any officer on the allegations and wondered why the officers would choose to speak to the media, when they had not exhausted the avenues within the service for redressing such matters.
“There are no illegal deductions that have been made on any officer’s pay. In any case, the police officers’ pay is wired directly to respective bank accounts of individual officers from the Office of the President,” said Ms Mboroki.
She added that the alleged dismissals that have occurred followed the laid-down procedures. “The gravity of the offence is assessed by reference to its objective seriousness. In any case, the concerned officers have avenues to appeal. Until they take advantage of such avenues, they cannot claim arbitrary dismissals or victimisation,” Ms Mboroki said.
Meanwhile, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police James Mwaniki, who was until his dismissal in 2013 the General Staffing Officer — technically the third in the GSU command structure — has moved to court over claims of arbitrary dismissal and is awaiting a ruling.
Mr Mwaniki was dismissed in September 2013 for alleged indiscipline, after leading the security operation at Westgate Shopping Mall when suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists struck on September 21 until the military took over.
Unbeknown to him, while he was leading the operation to flush out the terrorists from the shopping mall, his dismissal letter had been written on September 3.
“The saddest thing about my removal from the force was that it was effective September 3, 2013, yet the National Police Service Commission says it met on September 11, 2013 and decided to remove me from service, which means that they were meeting after a decision had already been made,” Mr Mwaniki said.
“I was also not pleased that during the Westgate operation, I was meeting with senior officers some of whom are all members of the NPSC. They knew I was no longer in service but allowed me to lead such a major security operation. Suppose something happened to me when I was at the Westgate operation, would they have said that I was an imposter?” the former GSU officer queried.