March, 26

Why was Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked?

Kenya's Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome said the National Police Service shrunken down former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s security detail to allow for efficient use of officers.

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Why was Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked?
Why was Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked?

Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked by the Kenya Kwanza administration under president William Ruto even though he is the former president of Kenya. The main reason could be because the current administration is trying to save money and they see Uhuru as a burden on the government’s finances. Another reason could be that the current administration does not trust Uhuru and they think that he could pose a threat to their power. Whatever the reasons, it is clear that the current administration is not interested in providing security for Uhuru and this could have dangerous consequences for the former president.

Why was the security shrinked?

Why was Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked?
Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s former president.

Kenya’s Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome said the National Police Service shrunken down former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s security detail to allow for efficient use of officers.

Addressing journalists in Mombasa on Friday, February 3, the IG also said the move was to align the command structure at the Presidential Escort Unit.

“The security situation in the country is such that we have to look at the static guards that we have and we have to find a way of reducing them and at the same time making sure that we have a very lean but mean machine that can protect the president,” Koome said.

According to Koome, until recently, the security team of former president Uhuru Kenyatta was still being led by an officer in the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police. The Presidential Escort Unit is in charge of the president’s security, and the officer leading the team is ideally in charge of the entire unit. However, due to changes in Uhuru’s security team, the officer leading the unit is now in charge of only the president’s personal security, and not the entire unit.

Why was Uhuru Kenyatta’s security shrinked?
William Ruto, Kenya’s current president.

President William Ruto was sworn into office on September 13, 2022 and was immediately assigned an Assistant Inspector-General of Police to lead his Presidential Escort team. The Escort team is responsible for the safety and security of the President at all times and is a highly trained and well-equipped group of individuals. President Ruto has expressed his confidence in the team and their ability to protect him and his family.

At every given time, there can only be one Assistant Inspector-General of Police who leads the Presidential Escort Unit that provides security to the incumbent president, his or her deputy and former presidents and deputy presidents, Koome says. The Presidential Escort Unit is a highly trained unit within the police force that is responsible for the safety of the president and other high-ranking officials. The unit is typically composed of members of the Special Action Unit, the SWAT team, and the bomb squad.

This situation, Koome said, created two Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, under the Presidential Escort Unit, which complicated the chain of command in the Police Service. She noted that this was an issue that needed to be addressed, so that there was a clear chain of command within the police force. Koome said that the Ruto-Uhuru situation was just one example of a larger problem within the Kenyan police force. She called for a reform of the police force, so that it was more efficient and effective in its duties.

The Inspector General (IG) is the highest-ranking officer in the National Police Service (NPS). The IG is responsible for the overall operation of the NPS, and is assisted by the Deputy IGs and the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (DCI). The DIGs are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NPS, and are assisted by the Senior Assistant Inspectors-General and their Assistant Inspectors-General.

“All regional commands (formerly provinces) are headed by Assistant Inspectors-General. Formation commands are headed by Assistant Inspectors-General. Among the formations, is the Presidential Escort Unit, which is headed by an Assistant Inspector-General. Under the Presidential Escort Unit, we have the Office of the President, Office of the Deputy President and Office of the Retired President(s),” he said. And Margaret Kenyatta, who was also affected in the rationalisation, Koome said: “The former First Lady of Kenya has security; we secure her premises. Even our two late presidents have security; we secure their premises. We respect those offices.”

Recent reports indicate that the number of police officers in Uhuru Kenyatta’s security team has been reduced from 96 to 25. This reduction in security personnel may be due to Uhuru’s recent health scare, which caused him to be hospitalised for several days. Uhuru’s security team is responsible for his safety, so it is understandable that they would want to decrease the number of officers in his team in order to reduce the risk of another incident.

The Presidential Retirement Benefits Act says that a former Head of State is entitled to at most six personal bodyguards, and security at his residences. Article 151 of the Constitution protects the retired president from being denied his retirement benefits. Section 3 of the Article says: “The retirement benefits payable to a former President and a former Deputy President, the facilities available to and the privileges enjoyed by them, shall not be varied to their disadvantage during their lifetime.”

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