NASA leader Raila Odinga yesterday launched a scathing attack on President Uhuru Kenyatta, accusing him of usurping the powers of the National Police Service Commission in replacing three top cops last Friday.
“Those changes were married with the partial naming of the Cabinet because Kenyatta did not want them to attract too much attention and scrutiny. Kenyatta knew he was acting against the spirit of the Constitution and trying to reintroduce through the backdoor what his mentors in Kanu perfected years ago,” Raila charged.
“It appears that the first agenda of the Jubilee regime in the New Year is to complete the undermining of the security sector reforms which the country badly needs in line with the Constitution of 2010,” he added
Uhuru dropped Ndegwa Muhoro as the Director of Criminal Investigations and replaced him with George Kinoti.
He also dropped Joel Kitili and Samuel Arachi as Deputy Inspectors-General in charge of the Kenya Police and Administration Police, respectively, replacing them with Edward Njoroge Mbugua and Noor Gabow.
Uhuru also announced that he had accepted the resignation of Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and nominated him as a Cabinet Secretary.
In a statement to newsrooms, Raila accused Uhuru of acting with impunity in the belief that he will never have to face Kenyans again, “having usurped power through fraud and force”.
In a hard-hitting statement, Raila opened a new war front with Uhuru on the high-profile changes in the Police Service and termed them unconstitutional.
According to the former Prime Minister, Uhuru is is looking for the next lot of officers who owe allegiance directly to him, to do the dirty work for him in the days ahead.
The first police chiefs after the enactment of the 2010 Constitution were competitively recruited through an elaborate process that involved announcement of vacancies and rigorous interviews by the NPSC.
However, in 2016, the Jubilee Party moved an amendment to the National Police Service Act, giving the President sweeping powers to hire and fire police bosses.
In his statement, Raila said aside from the dictates of the Constitution, the public are entitled to information on why public officers are being hired or fired.
Power to the president
“Was it because they had failed in their duties? Who identified the replacements?” questioned Raila, protesting that the appointments now mean the officers owe allegiance to the sole appointing authority, not the public.
“The trend Mr Kenyatta is embarking on, other than going against the spirit of the Constitution, means there no longer exists any fair chance for all Kenyans to access high constitutional offices because the appointment procedure is getting personalised,” he stated
Uhuru’s appointments last Friday brought to an end intense rivalry between key agencies that had nearly paralysed law enforcement.
The frosty relations between Tobiko and Muhoro over the last four years impeded their performance. Intervention by the President to mend their relationship had failed, culminating in their ouster.
At their exit, Muhoro and Tobiko were literally not on speaking terms, save for official correspondence. Their frosty relationship had long reached the ears of Uhuru but his intervention did not cool their heads.
In 2016, at the height of the protracted investigations into the Tatu City development, Uhuru summoned the two officials to State House and directed them to iron out their differences.
It seems they didn’t heed his advice if last year’s investigation into allegations that Supreme Court judges had relied on a ‘doctored’ report to nullify the August 8 presidential election is anything to go by.
Even after concluding the investigations, Muhoro did not forward his findings to the DPP. Some senior policemen who did not trust Tobiko feared that the investigations would hit a dead end as soon as the file landed on Tobiko’s desk.
In law, both the DCI and DPP are inter-dependent. The DCI is the investigative arm of the DPP, who has no command of any law enforcement agency. The DPP is not expected to be dictated to by anyone in his duties; he is required to act with regard to “the public interest, the interests of the administration of justice and the need to prevent and avoid abuse of the legal process”.
Muhoro is said to have complained during the State House meeting that the DPP was frustrating investigations by taking too long to deal with matters and the DCI was being blamed for delays.
After the State House meeting in 2016, it was resolved that in future, all high-profile cases will have timelines for both the investigators and the DPP. The team noted that delays by either the police or the DPP have resulted in a strained relationship between the government agencies.
Tobiko had come under the spotlight after it emerged that he was yet to respond to a request by the DCI, six months after he received a report on the Tatu City investigation.
Last Friday, Uhuru sent both of them home in a broad clean up of the law enforcement sector.
Tobiko was the luckier, being offered a Cabinet position as a consolation, while Muhoro’s fate remained unknown as he was replaced by former police spokesman George Kinoti. Muhoro will wait to be redeployed by the Public Service Commission.
Meanwhile Baringo Senator Gideon Moi yesterday denied reports that he is having a hand in the formation of the Cabinet in order to weaken Ruto’s chances of clinching the presidency in 2022.
“I have played no role whatsoever in the Cabinet formation. I have not been offered a Cabinet position and if I was to be offered I would not take it. I have a commitment to serve my people as their senator,” Gideon said.
The Kanu chairman did not say, however, whether he will second other nominees to Cabinet.
The details of Jubilee’s forays emerged yesterday even as Moi, a known political nemesis of Deputy President William Ruto, declared he will not join the Cabinet, if he he is offered a slot. Moi spoke on the day the Star published a story about the possibility.
However, sources said he had been toying with the idea but had decided to pass the chance to his close allies instead.
Gideon, who is eying the presidential seat come 2022, noted he is committed to Baringo residents and will remain dedicated to them for the next five years.
“I have a commitment and if God will give me time, I will serve them with all my dedication. I am like you … I have no role,” he said.