About 300 senior officers will be retired as the government implements major reforms in the structure, command, control and welfare of the National Police Service.
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the changes at the Kenya School of Government yesterday.
Those to be affected are officers who are either due to retire or are past retirement age but have been serving on extended contracts. Because of last year’s elections, some senior police officers got contract extensions and will now be asked to take leave pending retirement.
The NPS will also replace all police chiefs whose academic qualifications do not match their current positions. Those who have fake academic papers and have disciplinary records will also be axed as part of professionalising the service.
Yesterday, Kenyatta said the reforms are aimed at making the police a “service that is respected” rather than “a force that is feared”.
The Deputy Inspector General Kenya Police Service will now focus on public safety and security, while the Deputy Inspector General Administration Police Service will focus on protective and border security, as well as combating cattle rustling and banditry.
To eliminate waste and duplication, 39,680 Kenya Police Service and 24,572 Administration Police officers will be integrated as general duty police officers under the command of the Deputy Inspector General Kenya Police Service.
Kenyatta made it clear that the reforms – ranging from changes in structure and command, integration of regular and Administration Police, change of uniform, re-branding of colleges to introduction of housing allowances for junior officers – are meant to make the police service more efficient.
To improve welfare, the officers will now be paid a house allowance to live in places of their choice.
“To solve the problem of housing of police and prisons officers, and to better integrate them with the Kenyans they serve, the policy of mandatory and free housing for junior officers in institutional houses is hereby abolished. Instead, house allowances for all ranks of these officers will be provided,” Kenyatta announced.
He said the reforms, which have now seen 12 senior police positions scrapped, are aimed at raising the morale of the security officers by improving their conditions of service.
And with a new-look Persian blue uniform, the face of the police has changed.
The functions of the regular police as well as those of the Administration Police have also been redefined in changes aimed at putting more boots on the ground as well as cut expenses.
Unlike in the past when AP officers were synonymous with chiefs and county commissioners, they will now be required to take part in more critical security work such as arrest and prosecution of criminals.
They will no longer take orders from chiefs and county administrators as most of them will be deployed to police stations. Their uniforms will also change.
They will now dress in similar uniforms as they join their regular police counterparts in police stations.
Noor Gabow, the DIG in charge of Administration Police, will superintend men and women whose core function will be to guard the boarders as well as key government buildings and infrastructure.
The functions of the AP service have been narrowed down to protective and border security as well as combating cattle rusting and banditry.
Under his command will be officers in the Rural Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) which has been renamed Border Police Unit.
More officers will be sent to this unit to double its numbers from the current 3,000 to 6,000 officers.
Gabow will also supervise another 8,000 officers under a new unit named Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU). The officers will guard government buildings and facilities such as railways.
The Gilgil-based anti-stock theft unit, which previously was under Edward Mbugua the DIG, has been moved to the APS. Officers from this unit will be combined with those from the Administration Police Stock Theft Prevention Unit and their numbers increased to 5,000.
The unit’s mandate shall be solely to deal with theft of livestock. The unit’s headquarters shall remain in Gilgil.
The mandate of Director of Criminal Investigations remains unchanged. The unit is currently headed by George Kinoti.
The command structure of police officers was also revised. Under the new administrative guidelines, there will be eight regional police commanders.
The regional commander will be in charge of all police officers and activities in the area of jurisdiction. He will supervise the county police commanders serving under him.
Under the county police commanders will be subcounty police commander previously known as OCPD.
The subcounty commander will supervise the station commanders serving under them while the station commanders will oversee all offices serving in the police stations and police posts.
Police officers will no longer be required to live in police lines or houses leased by the government.
The president directed that all leases of police houses be terminated as the officer’s start receiving the house allowances.
According to the new police guidelines, police officers serving in Nairobi will receive a monthly house allowance of Sh18,124 while those serving in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru and Uasin Gishu will be paid Sh 13,124. Officers serving in other counties will receive Sh8,124.
Kenyans yesterday strongly protested against the new police uniforms.
They questioned the process the government used to come up with the design and how they acquired the new uniform.
“Don’t be fooled Kenyans. The change in Kenya Police uniform is another step towards Chinese colonisation. Kenyatta already sold us to the minions,” Gabriel Munyoki lamented on twitter.
Nairobi lawyer Donald Kipkorir tweeted that the uniforms were ugly, dull, old-fashioned and uninspiring.
“The beret is worse. They look like Salvation Army band,” Kipkorir said.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.