Political goodwill necessary to achieve police accountability, IPOA says
Political goodwill is very important in the quest to achieve police accountability in Kenya, according toDoreen Muthaura, a Commissioner at theIndependent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).Muthaura made the remarks in an interview with Nation TV on Thursday, November 3, where she also underscored the importance of cooperation by security agencies to eradicate police crimes. “For policing to thrive, political goodwill is mandatory,” she said.
The Commissioner lamented the lack of cooperation from security agencies, noting that it was hindering IPOA’s mandate delivery.
She pointed out the now disbanded Special Services Unit (SSU) of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), which she said IPOA was never made aware of.
According to her, the authority only got to know of the SSU after it grabbed news headlines for the wrong reasons. “The Inspector General and the Deputy Inspector General are obligated to inform IPOA of such formations and units so that we are able to undertake inspections. So that we are able to monitor what they are doing and therefore hold them accountable in the execution of their functions,” said Muthaura.“
If indeed something is legit and is done in the right manner, what is so hard about sharing this information so that the authority which is required by the law to hold you accountable should be able to vet, verify and audit that operation and that unit, and be able to communicate to the relevant institutions, especially the president and tell him this is legitimate?” she posed.
The Commissioner highlighted the dangers of non-cooperation from the security agencies, noting that it creates a vacuum in the quest for police accountability, thereby denying many victims of police brutality a chance at finding justice. “We would not be wrong to call it clear non-cooperation with the intention not to be audited by the entity that is created by a statute to hold police accountable,” Muthaura said.
The Commissioner’s remarks came as cases of alleged police disappearances and killings have made news over the past month.Currently, nine police officers are in custody in a case involving the disappearance of two Indian nationals and a Kenyan in July.
The nine were part of the SSU, which has been blamed, including by President William Ruto, of being a hit squad for the past administration.
Human rights defender organizations remain attentive on the case, hoping to find answers and justice for multiple families that remain in agony following the disappearances or killing of their kin by rogue police officers.