Happy Retirement, J.K Boinnet, Thank you for your service


When a new leader comes into position, the hopes of the citizenry under the jurisdiction is that all their burning issues will be eradicated, that life will be smooth and completely with no hiccups.

It is not the case when it comes to crime and security leadership;

When Thomas Hobbes (1651) studied Human beings and documented their nature on the Leviathan book, he described human beings as inherently evil, hedonistic in nature- always in pursuit of pleasure and intrinsic goods,
always striving to maximize net-pleasure and benefits while minimizing on pain.
This is exactly how one becomes a criminal, how crime happens and how a human act becomes a security issue.

The Unfortunate thing is you can not eradicate this nature, you can only manage this criminalistic nature of human, consequently Crime Management is what security organs do.

Joseph Kipchirchir Boinnet was installed to serve as the Inspector General of Police in a country where there were banditry cases, muggings, kidnappings, homicides, terrorism, corruption and much more but he could not eradicate them. It is and will continue being totally impossible, all one can offer is leadership to manage the cases.

Therefore, the rating of Boinnet’s service and leadership can only be done using parameters of how he has managed crime in the country, management measures he has put in place and how well they can or are managing the security issues.

Article 245 (6) of our constitution proscribes that;
“The Inspector-General shall be appointed for a single four-year term, and is not eligible for re-appointment”. It is therefore a term served and ended for J.K Boinnet who was appointed on March 11th of 2015.

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On a scale of 1-10 looking at what he has left behind, I would give him a 6.5, several points higher from his predecessor who would be lucky to earn a 2.5 from my rating.

“Congratulations sir Boinnet you have earned yourself a B (plain) grade.”

Under his 4 years tenure we have seen a lot in terms of National police tooling and equipping, more of meeting the UN recommended standards of police-citizen ratio, more of improving police welfare and more of improving police-citizen relations.

This is not new, all above efforts were seen on earlier Police leadership regimes (maybe just a higher magnitude during Boinnet’s tenure)

The question then is: What was new under J.Boinnet’s tenure?

My answer to that would be security equation;
A smooth command structure = A smooth absorption of command & smooth operational coordination:

A look at the old police structure verses the new police structure would simplify the equation further.

Under the previous police command structure An Administration Police Service (APS) County Commander could not issue any order to a low rank Kenya Police Service (KPS) Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) in his or her area.

The resources of Administration Police Service (APS) including vehicles could not be used to serve Kenyans on patrol and other operations by officers from Kenya Police Service (KPS).

It was mother National Police Service (NPS) with several warring kids, there existed serious bad blood between the units, serious madharau, “Mimi ni alpha Papa unaniambia Nini?” or ‘kilo papa’ ” Mimi ni G-coy/Golf Sierra apana tambua”

Checking on what happened during the Garissa University attack before the request for deployment of specialized team could reach Nairobi police headquarters;
It was all show-down of which unit is mightier than the other, different APS and KPS units responded on time but the unfortunate is all units scrambled officers to take on the attackers with definitely zero coordination and taking orders from different commanders. Even when the elite unit from GSU was ready, there was still no clear cut command structure for them to take charge.
More lives were lost as a result of zero coordination between units.

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Talk of specialized teams and units, Even if there happened an attack in Ruiru stone throw distance from Recce company base, OCPD Ruiru or the County Commander could not deploy Recce Co. to sort out the security situation under his jurisdiction. All specialized teams that is RDU, Recce, AP swat had to be deployed under orders only from police headquarters in Nairobi after serious deliberations;

My eye was caught by a 2014 enquiry report by IPOA on what did cost us over 100 lives in mpeketoni attacks,
On one incidence An OCPD sent a distress to the county commander for a specialized unit assistance at around 7:30 pm, the distress had to be relayed to the regional commander then to the police headquarters in Nairobi for deliberations, upon approval the communication would flow back using same channel.
When orders down finally reached Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) just 16 kilometres from the scene of the first attack it was already 9pm on June 15, briefing, departure and traveling made it an arrival of after midnight. Another unit from the General Service Unit (GSU), arrived at 3.30am on June 16, eight hours after the start of the attack.
Lives had already been lost all because of irregular command chain.

If there is something I would credit the outgoing IG Joseph Boinnet for then it would be leaving a smooth command structure;
Uniting the NPS warring kids and making them face the family issues as one under the General duty unit;

Any command from Deputy Inspector general ( public safety and security/ general duty) will now trickle down to regional police commander to county Police commander to subcounty police commander to officer commanding a station, police post and patrol bases.

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While any command from Deputy Inspector General (protective and border unit) trickle down to any unit under I.e Rapid Deployment unit (RDU) commander, Border patrol unit (BPU) commander), critical infrastructure Police unit (CIPU) commander, Anti-stock theft police Unit (ASTPU) commander.

Any investigative command from Director of Criminal investigations trickle down to Regional criminal investigations officer to county criminal investigations officer to subcounty criminal investigations officer to the investigation officers.

This are Short and clear command chains and structures.

Happy retirement J. Boinnet, you have served well

The Author is a Criminologist and Security Expert based in Kenya.

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