Almost two years later of living in anguish and pain, baby Pendo’s family finally had something to smile about after an inquest found five officers culpable for her untimely death during the August 2017 post-election chaos that rocked parts of the country. The saddening bit about her death wasn’t the fact that she was denied a chance to realize her potential but that it was totally preventable. Had the officers in charge that night exercised restraint and proper execution of duties, the baby would’ve stayed unharmed in her mother’s safe arms.
Having this in mind, the parliament’s resumption of sittings wouldn’t have been timelier as the replacement of the Inspector General is top in the agenda of the MPs’ sessions. Current IG will be retiring in March 2019 marking four years since he took office. That said MPs are expected to start considering nominees for placement at the National Police Service Commission to take on the challenging task.
With Kenya’s security system being still at refinement infancy, it is important that whoever replaces Boinett has the charisma and ability to spearhead much needed reforms in the sector. And that brings to light the process of recruitment of his position. The law requires that the President appoints the IG then parliament approves the appointment.
The greater hopes of the country shall thereby lie in parliament. Since the approval will be subject to vetting and debate, it will allow the public to be privy to the process. Comparatively, the president’s nomination process is clouded in secrecy with few if any being in the know of how the nominee was settled at.
Parliament will have to come together and show maturity during vetting since the security of the state lies in the competence of the nominee. It will have to put aside its political differences for the betterment of the state. It will have to dissociate itself with political bias.
It will have to scrutinize the integrity of the nominee. Several reports have named the police sector as the most corrupt in the country and whoever heads the institution must have the virtuousness of Caesar’s wife. He/she must be able to bring change from within and have themselves as a pedestal of virtue.
They must also have a proper human rights record. Various human rights’ violations have been perpetuated by the police in this country as in the case of baby Pendo and the late Martin Koome who was tortured to death in a cell in 2013. We cannot afford to have a sympathizer of such atrocities.
Parliament must ensure that the nominee is sober and firm on his principles. An individual who exercises independence of thought and isn’t susceptible to executive pressure. We need to see a police boss who is neutral and firm, and only biased towards the law.
Parliament must refrain from being a rubber-stamp of the executive and scrutinize the nominee’s record on all these factors with soberness, fairness, adherence to the constitution and most importantly, loyalty to the good of the people.
And while at it, it would be great to have the President nominate a woman for a change.