Activist Okiya Omtatah Forces Government to Postpone Presidential Police Housing Directive

  • Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah The Star
  • Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah and Ministry of Interior on Tuesday entered into an agreement to have Junior police officers continue living within police stations.

    According to the consent which will be formally filed in court on Friday before Justice Chacha Mwita, the police will stay put in their government houses until September 13, 2019.

    The government is also believed to have, among other things, concurred with Omtatah that the Ksh9,000 allowance recommended for police officers especially those living in Nairobi could not fetch decent housing.

    Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet

    In January, the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet directed that police officers living in government houses, leased houses, police camps or lines needed to move out by February 13.

    There is however discontent among junior officers in Nairobi who lamented that the housing allowances they received were little when you factored-in government deductions like tax and other utility expenses such as electricity and water.

    Initially, the government had planned to pay constables in Nairobi Ksh18,124 per month, 13,124 those in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru, Uasin Gishu while those in other counties were set to receive Ksh8,124 for housing. 

    The decision comes after Omtatah moved to court seeking  temporary orders to prohibit the National Police Service (NPS) from effecting the September 13, 2018, presidential directives.

    The activist argued that the change of uniforms, the rebranding of colleges and the introduction of housing allowances of junior officers were in violation of several provisions of the Constitution.

    He explained that only the Inspector General of Police had the power to issue such orders and not the President as was the case.

    According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the move was meant to help integrate police officers with other Kenyans.

    Police Officers’ quarters at a Nairobi Police station

    The agreement is also expected to give details about what will happen to the vacant houses after the officers finally vacate with earlier reports having suggested that the senior officers would occupy them.