Low morale as 4,400 prison officers mark time in same rank

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Prison officers match past the presidential dais during past national celebrations. Photo/PD/FILE

About 4,389 prisons officers who passed promotion interviews last year are yet to be promoted.

The slow career progression, according to the authorities, is hindering service delivery within the service.  The last promotions took place in 2012, more than nine years ago.

Delayed promotions has resulted in low morale in the service and management gaps which has seen some officers perform duties of ranks higher than theirs.

This, officials say, may compromise service delivery and impact negatively on national security.

Though lack of funds for salary increases was one of the reasons cited for failure to promote the officers, the State Department for Correctional Services was this financial year allocated Sh20.65 billion for personal emoluments which includes Sh409.7 million for promotions.

Retired officers

Yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary fred Matiang’i said the government will start addressing rank stagnation in the Kenya Prisons Service from July 1.

This came as a relief for the 4,389 officers. Authorities said that the stagnation and slow career progression has been a hindrance service delivery within the service, as they lack motivation.

“The government will begin addressing rank stagnation within the department on July 1, 2021,” said the CS, in a statement yesterday.

He made the remarks at Magereza House in a reception of Kenyan team, which excelled at the World Athletics relays championship in Silesia, Poland as well as Kenya Prisons Women Volleyball Team that won bronze medal in the just concluded African Volleyball Clubs Championship in Tunisia.

Promotion interviews for junior staff were conducted both at the stations and regional levels in August last year.

It was also revealed that some senior officers were promoted by the PSC and a communication was made to the officers on June 9, 2020.

However, up to date the officers are yet to receive salaries commensurate to their new ranks, with some officers retiring from the service without earning their dues.

And this is despite the fact that the service has adequate budgetary provision to cater for the financial implications resulting from these promotions

In the planned promotions 1,503 officers of the rank of constable were to be elevated to the rank of Corporal while 982 corporals were to be promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Another 652 officers were to be promoted to the rank of senior sergeant. The incremental salary for the officers in this cadre was estimated at Sh77.2 million.

The service wrote to the State Department expressing concern that the Service had been impaired by the turnover of personnel.

Regarding the promotion interviews, the service said the results had finally undergone the necessary analysis and scrutiny to ensure compliance to the set criteria for promotions across the regions.

“I confirm that owing to saving on personal Emoluments of Sh216,758,160 in this financial year 2020/2021, the Department will comfortably afford to absorb the required financial requirement of Sh85, 262, 450 for this exercise,” said Commissioner General of prisons Wycliffe Ogallo.

The service then requested the PS to intervene to have the National Treasury grant concurrence of funding for filling of the vacant positions in the Non Commissioned Officers.

“This will instantly address command gaps within the service to incentivise the achievement of core mandate,” the Prisons boss wrote on November 16, 2020. 

The service held consultative meetings with the Public Service Commission and in a letter dated June 21, 2019, the PSC approved promotions across all ranks.

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