Please enter verification code
The Achilles’ Heel of Police Reforms in Kenya
Social Sciences
Volume 2, Issue 6, December 2013, Pages: 189-194
Received: Sep. 6, 2013; Published: Oct. 20, 2013
Views 3412      Downloads 365
Douglas Lucas Kivoi, Policy Analyst, Kenya Institute for Public Policy and Research Analysis (KIPPRA), Nairobi, Kenya
Casty Gatakaa Mbae, Policy Analyst, Kenya Institute for Public Policy and Research Analysis (KIPPRA), Nairobi, Kenya
Article Tools
Follow on us
The genesis of policing in Kenya dates back to the pre-independence times. After independence, the constitution at that time had provisions for the establishment of a neutral police service. However that was just on paper because political leaders turned the police service into a political tool for suppressing and/or repressing political opponents, real or imagined. Thus the police impunity that was there during the colonial era was never eliminated from the service after Kenya got independence. Fifty years later, Kenya is still struggling with reforming its National Police Service which is fettered in many challenges among them corruption within its ranks, extra-judicial killings, limited and/or lack of professionalism, poor housing, lack of modern crime fighting equipments among numerous other challenges. The constitution promulgated in 2010 made demands for structural and welfare reforms to be carried out in the National Police Service. It is worth noting that the reforms anticipated in the police service are now way behind schedule. The culture of impunity in the police service has contributed to too many cases of insecurity, gross violation of human rights, mistrust by citizens and derailment of key achievements in democratic governance. It is thus evident that an overhaul of Kenya’s police service is critical. This paper addresses some of the key challenges facing the National Police Service and gives some policy recommendations.
Crime, Impunity, Mistrust, Police Service, Policing, Structural Reforms, Welfare Reforms
To cite this article
Douglas Lucas Kivoi, Casty Gatakaa Mbae, The Achilles’ Heel of Police Reforms in Kenya, Social Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 6, 2013, pp. 189-194. doi: 10.11648/
Achieng’ J. (1998) "Cleaning Up the Image of the Police" Inter Press Service, December 22
Ajulu, R.(2002):"Politicized Ethnicity, Competitive Politics and Conflict in Kenya: A Historical Perspective." African Studies 61, no.2 251-68.
Alston, Philip.(2009) "Statement by Professor Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions," delivered at the United Nations Human Rights Council
Anderson, M (2002) Vigilantes, Violence and the Politics of Public Order in Kenya, African Affairs, 101 (405), pp.531-555
Auerbach N (2003) Police Accountability in Kenya: Seize the Moment, Commonwealth Human rights Initiative. Ed, Police as a Service Organization: An Agenda for Change. New Delhi, pp.1 – 30
Bradbury, Mark and Kleinman, Michael (2010). Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Kenya. Boston: Feinstein International Centre Tufts University
Bristow, A.P. (1982) Rural Law Enforcement. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Calas, B. (2008). From Rigging to Violence. Lafargue, J. (Ed.). The general elections in Kenya, 2007. (pp. 165-185). Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Ltd.
E. Gimode (2001) An Anatomy of Violent Crime in Kenya: A Case of Nairobi: 1985- 1999: Africa Development Vol xx No 1 and 2001
-----------. (2007) "The Role of the Police in Kenya’s Democratization Process’’ in Godwin, R. Murunga and Shadrack, W. Nasong’o (Eds.), Kenya: The Struggle for Democracy. London: Zed Books, 227-60.
Edgerton, R. B. (1989). MAU MAU: An African Crucible. New York: Ballantine Books.
Erikson, R. and Haggerty, K. (1997) Policing the Risk Society, Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press.
Foran R (1962) The Kenya Police:1887 – 1960. London, Robert Hale Limited
Government of Kenya (2007). Kenya Vision 2030 Government Printers.
Hills, A.(2011) Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization. London: Lynne Rienner.
Human Rights Watch (2011),"Turning Pebbles" Evading Accountability for Post-Election Violence in Kenya",.
--------------- (2008) Ballots to Bullets: Organized Political Violence and Kenya’s Crisis of Governance. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch (2002) Playing with Fire: Weapons Proliferation, Political Violence and Human Rights in Kenya. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Kamenju, Mwachofi and Wairagu (2003) Terrorized Citizen: Profiling Small Arms and Insecurity in the North Rift Region of Kenya, Security Research and Information Centre, Nairobi.
Katumanga, M. (2005): "A City Under Siege: Banditry and Modes of Accumulations in Nairobi, 1991-2004.’’ Review of African Political Economy 32, no. 106 :505-20.
Kenya Police Service (2003) Kenya Police Service Strategic Plan 2003-2007 Draft 2. Nairobi: Kenya Police Service.
-----------.(2008) Strategic Plan 2008-2012. Nairobi: Kenya Police Service.
Leff, J. (2009) Pastoralists at War: Violence and Security in the Kenya-Sudan-Uganda Border Region. International Journal of Conflict and Violence. 3 (2): 188 – 203.
Loader, I. (1996) Youth, Policing and Democracy, Basingstoke: Macmillan
Mamdani, Mahmood. (1996) Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of Late Colonialism. London: James Currey.
Mastrofski, S.Worden and Spines (1995) Systematic Observation of the Police. Washington, DC: NIJ.
Muchai A (2003) Kenya Crime Survey 2003: Security Research and Information Centre
Muchai A (2002) Kenya Crime Survey 2002: Security Research and Information Centre
Mutua, M. (2008). Kenya’s Quest for Democracy: Taming the Leviathan. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Murunga, R. G. (2005): "Conflict in Somalia and Crime in Kenya: Understanding the Trans-Territoriality of Crime." African and Asian Studies 4, nos. 1-2 137-61.
Mwaguri M and Oculli O (2006) Rethinking Global Security: An African Perspective: Heinrich Boll Foundation; Nairobi
Mwenda, Albert. (2005) A Review of the Kenya Police Force Budget and its Effect on Crime Management. New Delhi: Matrix,
National Task Force on Police Reforms (2009) Report of the National Task Force on Police Reforms, Nairobi. The Government Printer.
Satterthwaithe,Margaret,(2007) "Rendered Meaningless: Extraordinary Rendition and the Rule of Law" 75 George Washington Law Review 1333
The Police, The People, The Politics: Police Accountability in Kenya (2005); A Joint report by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Kenya National Human Right Commission
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186