Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Interior, Prison bosses row delays promotions

The promotions, which target nearly 4,500 uniformed officers across all the ranks, were to be implemented last August but did not go through after the Correctional Services PS Zainab Hussein failed to release funds for the implementation, according to sources.

The promotions, which are supposed to be done annually, were to address existing succession gaps, stagnation and boost the morale of officers who were last promoted more than 10 years ago.

But despite promises by Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i on two occasions in the last year that the promotions would be effected before the end of this financial year, little has been done in that regard.

First promise

The first promise Dr Matiang’i made was when he visited the Kenya Prisons Training College last December and early this year at the Prisons headquarters. Nothing has been done.

It is these promises that have triggered a wave of discontent with prison officers openly expressing displeasure at the delay despite assurances from the Interior ministry that it would be done before the end of this financial year.

The Nation has learnt that bad blood between Ms Hussein and Commissioner General Wycliffe Ogalo is at the heart of the delay of an exercise that the Public Service Commission had in June 2019 approved and later factored into the KPS’ budget for the 2020/21 financial year.

The National Treasury allocated Sh295 million for the programme that was to be implemented in six months, from July to December 2020.

Sources at the Ministry of Interior have told the Sunday Nation that the PS refused to sign off the funds that would have implemented the programme citing budgetary constraints but the allocations are factored in the budget.

So bad is the situation that the PS has not released funds to facilitate the training of the first cohort of cadet specific training at the department.

The Kenya Prisons Training College launched the advanced course, which Dr Matiang’i commissioned last December in the presence of senior ministry officials, including the PS.

The 13-month course involves six months of classwork, six months in practical fieldwork and the final month of endurance and leadership training at the Kenya School of Adventure and Leadership (Kesal).

Not budgeted for

Even though the Prisons Department had identified a source of funding for the component that was to be executed by Kesa, the PS did not sign it off, insisting that it had not been budgeted for.

The PS did not respond to the messages left on her phone but in one of the documents seen by the Sunday Nation, she argues the department’s budget had been reduced.

“As you are aware, the recurrent budget of the department for this financial year has not been increased but reduced in comparison with that of 2019/20,” she stated in the document.

“The department has in this financial year focused on clearing the pending Bills due to pressure on reduced budgets allocations.”

Senate Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo, who was part of the Select Committee that investigated the operations of prisons expressed little surprise over the matter, saying that it will take an overhaul of the laws and policies to streamline operations within the correctional facilities.

The committee came with recommendations detailing solutions to the challenges facing the KPS. However, it was rejected by the National Assembly on the pretext that the Senate did not have the mandate as Prisons is a national government function.

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