Kenyans’ security is their right and shouldn’t turn out as a favor

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Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai (centre) when they visited Matungu in the wake of killings in the area. PHOTO/NPS
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai (centre) when they visited Matungu in the wake of killings in the area. Photo/NPS

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i was in Matungu Constituency on Thursday, two months late, and after at least 30 Kenyans had been murdered senselessly in Kakamega County. He talked tough and promised a plethora of security measures had been put in place and promised to completely eradicate the criminals involved.

As the English say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, therefore, time will tell how many of the murderers will be apprehended, charged in a court of law and successfully prosecuted and how many will be killed as the security agencies pursue them.

The Interior CS’s directive that all security officers who’ve been in one station for four years will be transferred is a step in the right direction but that isn’t enough to guarantee that those coming in will be diligent, patriotic, and incorruptible.

Time has come for a thorough audit of the competence, dedication to duty, incorruptibility of those entrusted as security officers from top to bottom if as a country we want to prioritize security for citizens. There are certainly patriotic and incorruptible offices serving this nation, but there are equally rogue police officers colluding with and working together with criminals, be it in the Kakamega County killings and other Counties of the former Western Province, the gold scams in Nairobi, and the myriad of crimes that keep hitting the media headlines day in, day out.

Furthermore, the Interior CS must tell the nation that all police stations in the region are equipped with the tools to combat crime be it availability of patrol vehicles, police motorbikes, or active telephone services so that Kenyans can communicate their grievances and emergencies whenever. The first duty of any government anywhere in the world that is to guarantee the security of its citizens.

CS Matiang’i must be cognisant of the fact that crime in this age and era is easier to tackle if agencies use the phone services and up to date intelligence, which is a key in crime fighting. Are we recruiting intelligent young men and women in the police force to be the vanguard in the fight against crime? We don’t think so. And why shouldn’t the security agencies in the Counties of the former Western province network with the boda boda operators who cover the County more intensely than the police themselves as they transport people and goods?

Another pointer, the citizens of the region must desist from tolerating corrupt police officers for too long until things get out of hand and lives are lost. We must name and shame corrupt incompetent police officers and celebrate and honor those officers who do their work professionally. We must put security as the key personal agenda and then we can pursue other endeavors to improve our lives.

Security is not a favour from the government, it is a Constitutional right to every citizen and must be guaranteed 24/7, 365 days a year and not be strengthened only after citizens have been killed. The government must compensate the families that lost their loved ones in Matungu and be held liable for all lapses of security whether through death, injury, loss of property through civil claims. That way, it will take its obligations seriously and weed out of the police force deadwood, incompetent, corrupt officers.