The search for the person who will succeed Johnstone Kavuludi as the chairman of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) enters the homestretch tomorrow as 10 candidates are expected to attend interviews in Nairobi.
Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende is among the 10 whose grilling has been slated for tomorrow, with four more expected to appear before the panel on Tuesday.
Others are former Transition Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi, former International Criminal Court Judge Joyce Aluoch, Dr Zachary Mwangi, Elijah Kodoh, Peter ole Nkuraiyia and Mukhtar Abdi.
The interviewing panel was gazetted by President Uhuru Kenyatta in November 2018 and comprises, among others, Kennedy Kihara who represents the Cabinet, Mr Stephen Kirogo from the Public Service Commission, Ms Anne Amadi from the Judiciary, Ms Kagwiria Mbogori from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Ms Joyce Mwikali from the National Gender and Equality Commission.
The 10, who will be vetted for the chair’s post, were considered the most suitable of the 59 who had applied after the position was advertised in December.
NPSC, which was created by the 2010 constitution, is the custodian of the human resource function of the police, which makes it pivotal in law enforcement.
Were it not for a 2014 move by Parliament to amend the law that created NPSC, the commission would also be the one hiring the Inspector-General of Police and his/her two deputies.
But after the enactment of the National Police Act and the National Police Service Act in controversial circumstances, NPSC lost that mandate, and the President now has a central role in hiring the person to be in-charge of police.
The commission led by Mr Kavuludi, whose six-year tenure ended in October 2018, complained about the law change in its exit report.
“The amendments to the Act were done without consultation with stakeholders and the NPSC, leading to an Act that fails to address key issues in the service, including the welfare of members,” Mr Kavuludi’s team stated in its list of challenges encountered.
Besides the NPSC chair’s position, the recruiting panel will also be interviewing 39 individuals who have been shortlisted to be members of the commission. They will be interviewed from Tuesday to Friday. The 39 where sieved from a list of 253 applicants.
NPSC is best-known for the vetting of police officers, an exercise that registered mixed results.
In the exit report by the Kavuludi team, they state that they vetted 5,993 officers, of which 273 were removed from the service. Some of the removals, however, attracted lawsuits and made NPSC change tack in the way it handled officers suspected to have engaged in misconduct.
The Kavuludi team left with a chequered legacy as it was not very proactive in taming brutality and rogue police excesses.
Mr Kavuludi’s role was also put to question when he joined a delegation of leaders from the western region to State House ahead of the repeat presidential election of 2017.
He would later tell the Sunday Nation that his role needed constant consultation with the President and other leaders in government.