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Disquiet Rocks Uhuru's Elite Guard Over 'Skewed' Promotions

THE STAR 09/27/2021

NPSC chairman said dissatisfied officers should file complaints for probe

Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, PS Karanja Kibicho and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai at Parliament Buildings on September 1. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, PS Karanja Kibicho and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai at Parliament Buildings on September 1. Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Elite security officers guarding President Uhuru Kenyatta are quietly protesting what they term skewed promotions early this month.

Some officers from the General Service Unit who are part of the Presidential Escort Unit (PEU)confided to the Star senior members have been passed over. Some have been in the service for more than 10 years, they said.

The State House-based guards also said the promotions list is dominated by officers from one community.

The promotions, the officers said, have stirred disquiet, caused lethargy and hurt morale in the unit that also guards Uhuru’s immediate family members.

In a list seen by the Star, 13 officers said to be junior and  employed in 2016  — serial 22-34— have been advanced from the rank of constable to corporal.

Two were promoted to the rank of inspector of police while  seven were moved to the rank of senior sergeant.

The promotions, which were done by the office of Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai, were communicated to the PEU officers on September 16. The promotions were communicated by commandant Josephat Mbuthia Kirimi.

Kirimi, the former Recce Company commandant, has been in the position since 2018 when he replaced current Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua.

He is a senior officer with the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police.

The PEU has more than 200 members who are assigned to the President alone. The elite squad is drawn from GSU's Recce and G-Company.

The PEU is a full-fledged team that handles the movements of the President and his family.

National Police Service chairman Eliud Kinuthia, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai during commencement of the KPS cadet course at the Kenya Police Training College in Kiganjo, Nyeri, on Friday, September 24. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
National Police Service chairman Eliud Kinuthia, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and Police IG Hillary Mutyambai during commencement of the KPS cadet course at the Kenya Police Training College in Kiganjo, Nyeri, on Friday, September 24. Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Chairman of the Police Service Commission Eliud Kinuthia said the promotion of officers between the ranks of constable and chief inspector is the IG's responsibility.

Speaking to the Star on Monday in a phone interview, Kinuthia said officers who object to the list are free to petition his office.

He said if Mutyambai promoted officers beyond his purview, without the concurrence of the commission, then they will take up the matter with the IG.

“These are delegated ranks to the IG. The commission determines promotions and transfers and if there are such complaints, we will audit them and put them to the IG,” he said.

“The law is very clear on how promotions are done. They are  through merit, shown good work and impressing your commander. The work of police officers are not the same,” he said.

Kinuthia said should a complaint be formally filed with his officer, the NPSC will investigate and address the matter. He said he will not allow disharmony in the service.

“Let them write to the chairman, they even do not need to come in person. Once we have a formal complaint, I will take it up with the IG.

"The commission has an open-door policy and we do not want our officers to be depressed or commit other illegalities because of such things when there is a means of addressing them,” he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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