Do these claims merit the commissioner’s attention?


Published on 08/12/2008

Some police officers in Western Province could be undoing the good work of their colleagues, and Police Commissioner Hussein Ali should take a closer look at transfers and promotions. Our correspondent, Ms Roselyne Obala, reports that the residents and officers she talked to think the problem is that most law enforcers stay in one station for more than five years.

This has led to complacency and lured some into the matatu business, creating a conflict of interest. Can a matatu owned by a cop, PointBlank wonders, be impounded for breaking traffic rules? Besides, Roselyne found out, there are claims that some officers are so well connected that they always return to their stations as soon as they are transferred. They then get back to the business as usual mode.

And Mr Charles Wafula, a resident of Mumias town, says some officers no longer live by the Utumishi kwa Wote (service to all) motto, leading to a high crime rate: “The criminals terrorising us are well known, but the police do not arrest them.”

Commissioner Ali, do these claims merit your attention?

*****

Abandoned houses cause safety concern

A “worried resident” of Kizingo in Mombasa, says some abandoned houses in the neighbourhood are turning into dens of vice, and something should be done to change the situation.

“My house is close to what were once the senior officers’ municipal quarters on General Mathenge Road. These houses have been vacant for nearly eight years, and are now a cause of anxiety,” he says.

Initially, vandals searching for valuables were attracted to the abandoned houses. However, says the resident, they soon gave way to hardcore criminals who use the houses as hideouts.

“We live in fear and insecurity has become worse. The thugs appear to have found a perfect base from where to carry their nefarious activities,” he says, adding that anybody who dares go near the houses is attacked.

The criminals also sell drugs, and despite appeals to the police and local political leaders, no help has been forthcoming.

“Were these houses sold to a prominent person, as it is rumoured? If so, why have they been abondoned and turned into a security concern to the neighbourhood?” he asks the Mombasa Municipal Council.

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Garbage chokes green town

The lush greenery of Kericho town could be no more in a few years, says Mr Peter Hamisi, unless the municipal council handles the garbage problem better.

“I don’t understand what is going on. The dumpsite is slowly but surely expanding towards the town centre. Why is the council not doing anything about it?” asks Hamisi.

The road leading to the dumpsite, he adds, is also pathetic, despite being regularly used by residents. This has become a health hazard and an eyesore.

“Transporters of meat from a nearby slaughterhouse use the road as do farmers who sell maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board,” he says, adding that the road has become an inconvenience.

Hamisi appeals to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to come to the residents’ rescue and ensure responsible disposal of waste. Those dumping haphazardly, he says, must be held to account.

“Failure to ensure garbage is disposed of in the right place will destroy our beautiful town. What steps are the municipal council and Nema officers taking to ensure this situation changes?” he asks.

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Activists can do better things

While everybody else talks of returning displaced people to their homes, Mr Miller Alusa in Eldoret would like animal rights campaigners to resettle animals affected by post-election violence early this year “instead of opposing bullfighting”.

“There are many stray dogs and cats which were left behind when their owners fled. The activists could be more useful looking after these animals than resisting a cultural event,” he says.

The campaigners, Alusa adds, ought to know the difference between animal rights and sports. Is it then, he wonders, against human rights for one to be a boxer or wrestler?

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