Inspector General Mutyambai must stamp out graft in police service

Monday, October 7th, 2019 23:27 |
Inspector General Mutyamba.

On September 12, a police officer shot dead a two-year-old boy in Soweto slums  in Nairobi. This month, Dan Githinji would have been celebrating his third birthday. He will not. 

Instead, his family will be marking one month since their son was murdered by an officer said to have been on mission to extort  brewers of illicit liquor. Githinji’s killer is probably still roaming the city looking for bribes.

The unfortunate incident underlines the lows to which the National Police Service (NPS) has sunk. Even as the rest of the country condoles with the boy’s family, blame must be put where it belongs.

Inspector General (IG) of Police, who is the face of the NPS, must take full responsibility for the child’s death.

Last year, Hillary Mutyambai applied for position of IG. He was found to be eminently qualified and handed the job. Nine months later, the question is: Is he giving the best? 

Mutyambai promised to initiate far-reaching reforms in the police. But the last time I checked, which was last evening, Mutyambai had not shown any interest of confronting corruption in the police service.

Serious questions are emerging regarding Mutyambai’s ability, and commitment, to reforms in the service.

Last month he promised to kick-start stalled reforms but said nothing about corruption. 

Mutyambai needs to be reminded that today, a police officer is the most detested and feared public officer in Kenya. Reason? Corruption.

Reforms in the service is one of the responsibilities Kenyans tasked Mutyambai with when he took office. Unfortunately he has looked the other way, the direction that is allergic to reforms.

It was taken for granted that on taking office, he would come to terms with the high level of impunity there and design ways of combating the vice. Instead, it appears he is comfortable with the status quo.

Mutyambai’s position is very challenging. The holder of that office must be ready to be confronted with both political and ethnic bashing. 

That notwithstanding it should not be a reason for failure. The holder of the office has no choice but deliver to the expectations of the public. 

Mutyambai is no amateur. He is a trained and seasoned public servant. What’s more, Mutyambai knew the challenges the office encompasses. He has no reason to fail.

Today, Kenyans are at the mercy of traffic police officers whose main mission is to extort from hardworking people. The picture Kenyans have of a police officer is that of a licenced extortionist. 

They spend nights collecting bribes from bars where they stoop as low as ask for Sh50. The Kenyan police officer has no shame.

That brazenness is what led to young Githinji’s death.

Should we assume that Mutyambai is not aware of this? If not, will he ever know? 

Mutyambai must put his foot down and stamp out graft in the service. 

No other child should die of bullets of a greedy police officer. 

Mutyambai has to stand up and defend the lives and dignity of Kenyans. He should give his docket a positive face by boldly fighting the graft within it. 

Excuses carried forward from the days of yore have not helped. If anything, they have been an embarrassment to the office Mutyambai occupies.

Dan Githinji’s murder should forever remain a scar to our national conscience and reminder of our moral decadence.

Mutyambai Sir, your work is clearly cut out. No excuses please! Deliver. — The author is a Revise Editor at People Daily —[email protected]

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