Parliament may soon arm chiefs, their assistants and village elders with more powers if it passes proposed amendments to the National Police Service Act.
Changes to the NPS Act if given the green light by MPs will give chiefs the authority to command and deploy police officers regardless of their ranks.
According to the Daily Nation, the bill if passed will drastically reduce the powers of the Inspector General of Police who can exercise independent command over the police.
Although the police are subject to civilian authority as prescribed under the National Police Service Act, this new bill seeks to expand civilian authority over the police to include chiefs and their assistants at the county and regional office.
“National Government Administrative officers shall be responsible for overseeing police service under their respective Service Delivery Administrative boundaries in accordance with Article 239 (5) of the constitution and any other written law,” reads part of the bill believed to be from the government.
However, Majority Leader Aden Duale, Amnesty international and Demas Kiprono of the Police Reform Working Group are opposed to the bill.
“The subordination to civilian authority via an Act of Parliament must not be contrary to the constitution. The independence of the IG connotes the state or condition of being free from dependence, subjection or control,” Amnesty argued.
The international rights group further stated that only the IG has the constitutional mandate to command the police.
Although the bill has not been owned, Mr Duale denied the possibility of it being government-sponsored, saying that he will oppose it once introduced in the House.
Introduction of government bills in the current pure presidential system is a bipartisan affair, meaning that such bills can be tabled in the National Assembly or Senate by respective Leaders of Majority or their minority counterparts.
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