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Kenya Corruption in virtually all aspects of policing, reveals 5,000-page investigation report sent to President Ruto in 2023

  • June 6, 2024
  • 12 Min
  • 10
kenya-corruption-in-virtually-all-aspects-of-policing,-reveals-5,000-page-investigation-report-sent-to-president-ruto-in-2023

The Maraga Task Force submitted its report to President William Ruto in November 2023. The task force was established to identify legal, policy, administrative, institutional and operational challenges hindering the effective delivery of services by the National Police, the Service Kenya Prisons and the National Youth Service. This Missing Voices Report 2023 article provides detailed insights into the findings of the Maraga report.

missing-voices-2023-annual-report_0.pdf (boell.org)

The National Task Force on Improved Conditions of Service and Other Reforms for Members of the National Police, Kenya Prison Service and National Youth Service (the Maraga Task Force) has submitted its report to President William Ruto in November 2023.

The Task Force was established to identify legal, policy, administrative, institutional and operational constraints to the effective delivery of services by the three services. It also looked more specifically at the welfare and conditions of service of service members.

In its report, the Task Force appreciated the fact that there had been many other initiatives before it which had also made recommendations on how to reform services. He noted: “…it was clear that the issues identified were not new to the Services. They had been the subject of previous working groups and commissions.

However, perhaps because this was not part of its terms of reference, the Working Group made little attempt to identify the reasons why past reforms had not worked. Logically, this raises the fundamental question among those who made submissions to the Task Force whether the recommendations it made will be implemented.

“One of the most notable observations from the field visits was public skepticism about whether the Task Force’s report and recommendations will ever be implemented or make any difference,” he noted in his report of more than 500 pages.

He further noted that “it is a well-founded anxiety based on the depressing reality that the issues raised during these public dialogues have, for decades, been reported but remained largely unresolved for just as long.”

Interestingly, the Task Force highlighted the lack of public confidence in the Services, including the National Police. He said: “…unlike previous commissions and committees, this Working Group was not created to respond to security risks.

The country was, however, faced with a dilemma: the loss of public confidence in internal security institutions, notably the police, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the institutions’ feeling that their services were not appreciated.«

The above is a strong indictment of the country’s prolonged history of reforms, and what has been achieved, many years and billions of shillings later. The constitutional reform initiative, which ushered in the 2010 constitution, was supposed to address some of these key governance issues.

The failure of those in power to faithfully implement the constitution is the main reason why the country is caught in “reformism” after 2010. In short, the country is caught in a cycle of reforms that do not achieve everything. just nothing at the end of the day.

Most “reform” initiatives, including the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO), only scratch the surface and do not go deep enough to address the country’s structural and systemic problems.

The Working Group underlined the importance of security in the life of the nation by emphasizing the following: “Security defines the contours of nationality and determines the potential and viability of any society. No significant socio-economic or even political development can be achieved, let alone sustained, where there is no solid legal framework and a reliable mechanism for its enforcement. »

He further emphasized that, “… for a country to function properly and prosper, there must be strict enforcement of the rule of law, evident in lasting security. This is the crucial role that security agencies are supposed to play.«

Even more significantly, “the women and men who serve in sensitive security roles are democracy’s primary defenders: standing firm against anarchy and chaos. When security services are unable to optimally fulfill their roles, for whatever reason, the very foundations of the nation and its fabric are threatened. »

Below we summarize what the Maraga Task Force said regarding the issue of impunity in the National Police, corruption and other issues that not only make it difficult for the force to offer services quality, but also to respect the rights of Kenyans.

The culture of impunity in the Services and their blatant failure to effectively enforce the rule of law are slowly driving the country towards a state of illegality and anarchy. We are already losing investments in neighboring countries partly because of this sad state of affairs which should not be allowed to continue. As part of the definitive break with the past, there must be a paradigm shift. The Task Force established that the institutional and cultural failures that have frustrated the transformation of the three Disciplinary Services for decades range from endemic corruption and land grabbing to sexual harassment, inhumane treatment and gross injustices; to indolence and aversion to learning; as well as political interference, all leading to a loss of public confidence in all three institutions. Corruption, in virtually all aspects of the Services’ affairs, has been particularly highlighted as having undermined professionalism and thus rendering them almost dysfunctional. Each year, the National Police is regularly ranked as the most corrupt institution in the country without any sanction, thus fueling a culture of impunity, which has spread to other uniformed services. The failure of community policing to take off is an illustration of this. Endemic corruption also permeates other aspects of the Service’s operations. Transfers, deployments, promotions, as well as purchases are tainted by corruption and favoritism, which undermines the morale of National Police officers. There have been reports of conflicts of interest fueling corruption. These include traffic officers owning public service vehicles and car breakdown services, liquor outlets, gambling outlets, and generally engaging in commercial activities and compromising activities their impartiality and professionalism. All we need is uncompromising enforcement of the law and everything will be fine. With serious law enforcement, corruption, which swallows up almost seven percent (7%) of the country’s GDP every year, will be radically reduced and, as a country, we will not need to search for money. foreign aid, especially foreign loans which are now almost crippling to our economy. Police impunity and corruption have a direct relationship with extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, hence the importance of the findings of the Maraga Working Group for the mission of the Missing Voices Coalition. In other words, failure to end police impunity and corruption will mean that Kenyans will continue to suffer these two crimes, which have had a negative impact on families across the country. The Missing Voices Coalition will therefore continue to advocate for an end to police impunity and corruption. In this endeavor, it will work cohesively with its partners, particularly the Police Reforms Task Force.