By Calvin Osiemo
Governors have reacted with fury in response to Cabinet Secretary for devolution Ms. Anne Waiguru’s sentiments that security will not be devolved to the county governments any time soon. The governors had placed a request for the Administration Police department to be placed under their command but speaking at the second devolution conference in Kisumu, CS Waiguru said that would create a lot of confusion as security is constitutionally a mandate of the national government.
“We cannot devolve security now as this will create two or more lines of command and create confusion rather than tackle insecurity,” said Waiguru.
Governors’ Council Chair and Bomet governor Isaac Ruto said security is a critical issue and the CS seems not to be handling it with the utmost attention it requires. Ruto also called for dialogue to address the matter in time.
“We need dialogue to see what role counties should play in security because the discussion now is not if they should, but how they should. Right now, we ask that the police be properly equipped and well-trained to tackle crime.” said Mr. Ruto
Governors speaking at a forum chaired by governor’s security committee chairman Hussein Dado, the Tana River governor said that their request for devolution of security was not too much to ask for as this would help sort the insecurity issue in the country.
“Ms. Waiguru’s are dinosaur ideas that have been overtaken by time. Let us leave this idea that we are protecting our own turf, because, really, counties have as much stake in their own security as the national government. It was only Governor Nadhif Jama of Garissa who was in the dark. If he had his own forces that do not have to wait for command from Nairobi, I am sure we would have saved lives” he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, Nakuru Governer Kinuthia Mbugua said its time the government rethinks and strategizes on how to handle the security issues at hand. The governors wondered why the government was reluctant in embracing the request and hence missing the opportunity to stop the insecurity menace.
Members of Parliament have strongly supported the suggestion by the governors saying the devolution of security issues will greatly boost security in the country.
Speaking in his constituency on Thursday, Juja Member of Parliament Francis Waititu has backed the request saying incidences such as the Garissa University attack could have been handled more efficiently.
“We don’t mean that the governors will be mandated to recruit new police officers or hand over weapons to them. What we mean is that the governors should be given the mandate to ensure that security in their respective counties is at its best. We don’t expect the President to follow up on cases of cattle rustling in Kajiado or Narok while we have a governor there. For instance, if the Garissa governor could have addressed the matter before hand, the attack could be addressed. If the OCS is sleeping in the job, let the governor take action against him,” said Waititu.