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The politics of bodyguards

by kenya-tribune

The scaling down of security personnel attached to retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and powerful individuals who served under his regime has drawn the public’s attention with most citing the move as to being politically instigated.

The security was reduced yesterday when those attached to Uhuru and those of his immediate family were also scaled down in a drastic measure in what the government say is a move to ‘rationalise personnel’.

According to sources, a senior police officer who was leading the security team has been recalled and replaced with one of a lower rank.

It is not yet clear how many security personnel the former President has been allocated, with reports claiming that the entire security detail had been withdrawn.

According to the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act of 2003, a retired president is entitled to an elaborate state-funded office with a household of staff including guards.

The Act had initially capped the number of guards at a maximum of six each for personal and escort unit use as well as for deployment at the retired president’ urban and rural residences placing the total number of guards at 12.

But the law also outlined that such number of guards for personal and escort unit use as may from time to time be certified by the Minister responsible for national security in consultation with the retired President.

The Act was however amended in 2013 limiting the number of guards to six.

The ‘rationalisation’ also affected former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and former Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho months after leaving office.

While addressing the media today at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome confirmed the scaling of security detail of the former Head of State but hesitated on mentioning how many were left citing security reasons.

He dismissed claims that alleged that the State had withdrawn Uhuru’s security and instead clarified that his security team is now headed by a superintendent in accordance with the law.

He explained that the presidential escort unit of a sitting president falls under the command of an Assistant IG but upon retirement, the unit’s leadership is transferred to a superintendent who reports directly to a deputy IG.

“An officer who was of the rank of an assistant Inspector General was with the retired president. So how do you expect an assistant Inspector General to report to another assistant Inspector General,”Koome said.

He also confirmed the scaling down of the security detail of the former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and retired Cabinet Secretaries since they are no longer on active duty.

“We do secure their premises and provide security to them but you can’t give the same security detail to retired government officials as those who are on active duty,” he said.

The move comes after the former Head of State fired back at the current administration to quit with the ‘too much talk’ and focus on their mandate and service to Kenyans.

He was speaking at the home of his former late Education minister George Magoha where he and former CSs had gone to mourn their colleague.


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