It came as a great relief to many when the National Police Service Commission announced plans to recruit 10,000 police officers. Many patriotic and concerned Kenyans were at least impressed by the efforts the government was making towards achieving the recommended ratio of police to citizens which stands at 1:450. Another age group was rejoicing as the commission had reduced the minimum entry grade from C (Plain) to D+ (plus) and put the minimum age to between 18 and 28 years for KCSE holders, and 30 years for those with specialized skills including Diploma and Degree. But as they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Old tricks die hard.
The ills that marred the recent police recruitment will finally catch up with us sooner or later. In fact part of the complacency annihilating the security sector in this country, to a large extent is a problem emanating from vague police recruitment. If nepotism, tribalism and money are the requirements for one to join the force, then we are shooting ourselves at the foot.This ineptitude in the name of recruitment drive is catastrophic to say the least. Reducing an enormous task as this to an auction for the highest bidder only shows how low and selfish we have become. Sh.2.9 billion of taxpayers money have gone down the drain.
Senior commanders and politicians outwit each other in absorbing their relatives, cronies and fellow tribes men and women in the force at the expense of genuine youths fit as fiddle who only count at the recruitment as their last resort. These are jobless young lives who have bared the wrath of a harsh reality of searching for those elusive opportunities in the job market. Remember they obviously do not have godfathers because these is a country of unequals, what J.M Kariuki would term as a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.
These selfish acts means police condoning impunity on our roads, passengers pegging their lives at the mercy of notorious drivers will always resurface occasionally. Drug cartels and their dens sprouting all over and thriving will continue to be a thorn in the flesh. Citizens mobilizing neighbours to keep vigil around the estates and the villages will be our new norm for a long time to come. Dreams will be shuttered and precious lives will be brought to a halt courtesy of extra judicial killing by elements in the force who do not give a damn. Al shabaab cells will continue to terrorise residents and people will be displaced every few months. We will get used to burying our young men and women, their lives cut short by poisonous liquor. Am sure you now know all wealthy people have ‘licensed guns’. Yes they can never count on the police. Nobody even cares for the Wanjiku.
Am hoping the Kavuludi Commission will unravel the rogue police men and women, cartels and brokers in these business and recommend severe actions to be taken. Stations that registered massive complaints should be be given another chance to hold a transparent recruitment. We must set a precedent now by raising the bar in professionalism, in conducting these drive and punishing impunity. After all is said and done, Karma is a bitch, we certainly do not need to sob later for the bad seeds we continue to sow now.