The National Security Council (NSC) has been holding a series of meetings in recent weeks to discuss who will succeed Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, whose term is ending.
According to sources, the council chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta has selected a number of candidates from the National Police Service (NPS) as well as from other security agencies as possible successors.
Even as members of the council vouch for some candidates, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), which is charged with employing and grading National Police Service staff, is yet to be vetted by the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, President Kenyatta appointed Mr Eliud Kinuthia to succeed Mr Johnston Kavuludi as NPSC chairman.
Mr Kinuthia has worked as adviser on the National Police Service Transformation project.
The President also appointed Ms Lilian Kiamba, Mr Eusebius Laibuta, Mr Naphtaly Rono, Dr Alice Otwala and Mr John ole Moyaki members of the commission. They will serve for five years.
The nominees will be vetted by the National Assembly’s Administration and National Security Committee before they are formally appointed.
The NPSC Act requires the National Assembly to approve or reject the nominees within 21 days from the date the Speaker makes the announcement.
Mr Boinnet was sworn in before Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on March 11, 2015, after being vetted by a joint Senate and National Assembly committee, where he pledged to fill the gaps in the country’s security system and strengthen intelligence in the fight against crime.
Now, four years down the line, and in accordance with the Section 18 of the National Police Service Act, the service is about to bid goodbye to the man about whom the country knew little before his appointment.
Mr Boinnet’s term ends in just a month, and already, the lobbying for a new Inspector-General is intense both within the service and without.
During his term, the police were accused of several human rights violations, including the shooting of innocent civilians during the election period as well as the murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani.
“Already, speculation is rife. Officers are already anxious about the appointment of a new IG.
“We are not sure who is likely to be appointed, but several factors are expected to come into play, including the 2022 elections and regional balance,” a senior superintendent of police said.
Mr Boinnet’s juniors describe him as a strict man of few words who is keen on intelligence and order in operations and structure.
Those interviewed by the Nation said Mr Boinnet, a career policeman who worked at the National Intelligence Service (NIS), made big strides in reforming the National Police Service.
The appointment of Mr Boinnet followed the resignation of David Kimaiyo the same month.
The President appointed Kimaiyo chairman of the Kenya Airports Authority.
“To me, his biggest achieving is creation of cohesion between the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service, which had for years been engaged in bitter rivalry,” another officer said.
“He created four specialised units out of the Administration Police Service. He placed all officers who were not deployed to the units under general duty.
“They are now working like the other Kenya Police officers. They even have similar uniforms,” the officer added.
The units created from the AP are the Border Patrol Unit, the Critical Infrastructure Police Unit or Securing of Government Building Unit, the Rapid Deployment Unit and the Anti-Stock Theft Unit.
And in reorganising the structural command, Mr Boinnet appointed three senior Administration Police officers regional commanders.
Mr Rashid Yakub (Western), Mr Vincent Makokha (Nyanza) and Mr Paul Soi (Northeastern); and the 17 county commanders will work under the Deputy Inspector-General in charge of the Kenya Police, Mr Edward Mbugua.
Those left to work under Administration Police Service DIG Noor Gabow are now tasked with protective duties.
Former NPSC chairman Kavuludi described Mr Boinnet as an “extremely dedicated professional with an impressive personality”.
For his part, Corporate Communications Director Charles Owino said Mr Boinnet gave officers the opportunity to exploit their potential.
Other sources within the NPS said Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, Deputy Inspector-General Edward Mbugua and Mr Gabow are also being considered for the position.
Former National Counter Terrorism Centre Director Isaac Ochieng, General Service Unit Commandant Douglas Kanja, Director of Corporate Communications Charles Owino and the Police Training Cllege Commandant Kingóri Mwangi were also mentioned as some of the potential candidates for the position.
However, Mr Kinoti, whose term lasts six years, might not be selected because his current war against corruption may be crippled.
An Assistant Inspector-General stationed at Vigilance House said officers preferred the appointment of an insider who understands the service well.
Approached to comment on his term, Mr Boinnet said it was premature but promised to talk towards the end of his tenure.
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