VETTING OF JAPHET KOOME FOR INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL POLICE SERVICE
8TH NOVEMBER 2022
The Police Reforms Working Group (PRWG–Kenya) welcomes the opportunity to give its input in vetting the Nominated Inspector General of the National Police Service, Japhet Koome. We note that Kenya has made progress in terms of police reforms. However, individual and command responsibility and accountability have been wanting. Other issues that have been pervasive include the politicisation of policing, lack of independence, and unlawful use of force and firearms.
We support and acknowledge the commitments made by President William Ruto on 16 October 2022, promising to end criminality, Extrajudicial Killings (EJEs) and Enforced Disappearances (EDs) in the National Police Service. These serious human rights violations have continued for years despite police reforms.
We appreciate Chapter Six of the Constitution establishing leadership and integrity standards binding all state officers to exercise public trust in a manner consistent with the purposes and objects of the Constitution, including demonstrating respect for the people and bringing honour to the nation and dignity of the office. Moreover, Article 21 of the Constitution dictates that every state officer’s fundamental duty, including police officers and the Inspector General of the NPS, is to respect, protect,
promote and fulfil the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights.
The PRWG–Kenya takes this opportunity to seek clarification and assurances from Japhet Koome regarding his leadership during his time as the Nairobi County Commander, which was marked by serious human rights violations, including police killings of unarmed protestors and children and sexual violence.
We are guided by the findings and recommendations of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) reports and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) covering the 2017 Anti–IEBC protests, the raid of Nairobi University and policing of the 2017 elections. We are also guided by the Stephanie Moraa Inquest, which are matters of public record.
The IPOA report on the Anti–IEBC protests indicts Koome’s leadership by finding that there was no prior briefing or training of police officers involved in the public order management of the protests that caused the severe injuries in Nairobi. The report also directly indicts Koome for failure to cooperate with them (IPOA) despite his legal obligation to do so to the lawful police oversight body.
During the inquest into the killing of a nine–year–old girl, Stephanie Moraa Gisemba, the Court determined that the Police refused to provide the report of their investigation, failed to cooperate with IPOA and produce operation orders for Mathare North Area 2, covering 12 August 2017. According to the KNCHR’s report on the Police Operation at the University of Nairobi, police officers from the General Service Unit forcefully entered the UON Architecture Design and Development (ADD) Building. They apprehended and tortured students and some staff with batons, slaps, kicks, and gun butts for seven hours. Furthermore, the students were forced to do push–ups, among other forms of unusual and cruel treatment prohibited under Article 25 of the Constitution. Female students were groped, and Luo and Luhya students were targeted for their perceived political inclination
We believe that Japhet Koome should publicly and satisfactorily explain his position as a person with individual and command responsibility and what measures he has taken to reduce the violations documented in the above reports, and what measures he will take to prevent similar atrocities from happening in future as Inspector General should the National Assembly approve his nomination.
- Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) regarding the 2017 elections titled “Mirage at Dusk”
- KNCHR report detailing the police raid of Nairobi University hostels on 29 September 2017 titled “You Got Brains, We got Brawn”
- KNCHR Report titled “Silhouettes of Brutality: An Account Of Sexual Violence During and After The 2017 General Elections” which documented cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in 2019.
- Independent Policing Oversight Authority’s report titled “Monitoring Report on Police Conduct during Public Protests and Gatherings” regarding the 2017 protests.
- STEPHANIE MORAA GISEMBA “Nairobi CM Inquest Number 14 of 2017”. http://www.ipoa.go.ke/wp–content/uploads/2021/03/Ruling–Inquest–14–of–2017.pdf
- Nairobi University Academic Rights Action Group, supported by Women in Real Estate and the Architectural Association of Kenya dated 3 October 2017 titled “Afternoon of Campus Terror” marked A5, regarding the police raid of Nairobi University on 29 September 2017.
Link to reports cited: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wNmnOi22PgDDLi2STyei-Du9RDi3KLIl
For more information and interviews, contact Mathias T. Kinyoda: Mobile at +254723424803, Email: [email protected]