We the undersigned human rights and governance organizations under the auspices of the Police Reforms Working Group Kenya (PRWG-K) wish to once again convey our deepest condolence and sympathy to all the relatives and friends of our fellow civilian as well as members of the National Police Service who have died, sustained serious injuries, or have been victims of massive destruction of property and grave human rights violations in recent incidences of violence in various parts of the country.

We take great exception that in the recent months, the country has witnessed an unprecedented spate of coordinated armed violence perpetrated by civilians or illegal organized gangs specifically targeting and resulting in the deaths of over 60 police officers, and the Kenya Police Reservists (KPR). We also note with great concern the emerging situation of apparent ‘incapacity’ of the police to manage these situations, and the emergence of the Kenya Defense Forces as key player in internal security operations, a situation that does not augur well for democracy and protection of human rights.

POLICE WELFARE AND CAPACITY

We wish to categorically state that, we wholly support the improvement of the welfare of all officers of the Kenya Police Service. We wish to restate, as we have consistently done recently, and as early as the first Constitutional Conference at Bomas of Kenya, that we are calling for improvement of living conditions, salaries, morale, transparent decision making, training, medical and life insurance, as well as equipment including facilities like forensic investigations, and other prerequisites that will transform the Kenya Police Force into a SERVICE that is concerned with the welfare of the officers and whose services citizens will be proud of.

We shall continue to gallantly champion these issues together with all other actors in government, citizens, development partners and those members of the Kenya Police Service whose desire is to transform the service. The National Police Service Commission will be a key partner in this endeavor.

IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICE REFORMS

The PRWG-K has taken a very firm and progressive position on the need for immediate and comprehensive implementation of reforms in the police force as articulated in the 2009 Ransley Report, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and various police legislation.

To support these reforms the PRWG-K has since November 2011 take several measures including: a) we have been enjoined in High Court case where two Kenyans want the court to stop police reforms. Our position in that case is that police reforms must continue as provided for by the Constitution; b)Developed model vetting tools and guidelines for officers in the NPS and shared these tools and guidelines to the NPSC for consideration; c) We have drafted Guidelines for Policing the 2013 general elections which we will soon share with the NPSC for consideration c) We petitioned the AG to  ensure that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Tana violence include a specific investigation of the circumstances under which nine police officers died.

It is important for all Kenyans to know that failure to reform the police will continue to be a major hindrance to reforms in the administration of justice sector, for the police is a critical cog in the wheels of justice, and occupy a critical seat at National Council for Administration of Justice and Court Users Committees in the 47 counties.

SPECIFIC POSITION ON RECRUITMENT OF INSPECTOR GENERAL AND DEPUTIES

We wish to state that contrary to impressions created by sections of the media over the last one week we recognize and laud the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) who have initialized the recruitment process for the Inspector General (IG) and the two Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs) to command the Kenya Police Service (KPS) and the Administration Police Service (APS), by expeditiously and successfully completing the interviews for the three positions and forwarding their names to the relevant authorities for consideration and appointment. We are particularly glad that the interview process upheld the principles of transparency with uninhibited participation of the public, the civil society, the media, local and international observers.

Whereas we appreciate the efforts made by the NPSC to balance various interests including gender, academic qualifications, experience, integrity and regional balances in recommending the candidates for appointment, the working group recommends that the serious integrity issues ranging from corruption, drug trafficking, contempt of court and role during the 2007/2008 post election violence leveled against four of the nine recommended candidates by the public, the civil society and other agencies during the interviews, be investigated and the reports made public to enhance public confidence and accountability.

 

At our press conference on Thursday 22nd November 2012, we did not reject the nine nominees but urged the NPSC to go public and communicate to Kenyans their specific findings on these individuals to confirm that indeed the commission made serious consideration of these allegations and complaints, and what their position is. This request in itself does not amount to blocking police reforms, but is an endeavor in upholding requisite levels of integrity as provided for by the Constitution.

MOVING FORWARD

We note with appreciation that police reforms have now gathered momentum as we approach the March 2013 general elections. This is most welcome coming from a situation where police were highly indicted for their failure to police the resultant violence of 2008.

It is for this reason that we call upon the NPSC, the President, the Prime Minister and Parliament to expedite the appointments of the Inspector General, two deputies and the Director of CID to ensure that we go to the elections with a new, but most important a CENTRAL POLICE COMMAND.

We urge the new police leadership to move with speed and put in place adequate measures to secure the electoral environment, and prevent the 2007/2008 scenario and the scenes we have seen in Tana River, Mombasa, Kisumu and Baragoi.

In this regard we commit to share and discuss the development of Police Guidelines for Policing in an Electoral Environment to provide for a standard procedure for police officers’ conduct in the forthcoming general elections. These guidelines need to include reporting and response mechanism for Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), among other critical components.

 

Lastly, we commit to remain vigilant, monitor and continue to advocate for and support comprehensive security sector reforms both publicly and privately, to realise a reformed, transformed and service-oriented National Police Service.

Our support for these reforms are premised on fundamental principles as provided by the constitution including integrity, gender equity, diversity and public participation. It is on the basis of these principles that we shall continue to raise our reservations about the entire process of reforming the police including recruitment of the top command.

Signed by: Members of the Police Reforms Working Group Kenya (PRWG-K)