The new police boss, Joseph Boinett, is now fully in charge after taking an oath of office committing himself to preside over Kenya’s internal security affairs according

to the law established and to the best of his ability. But hardly 12 hours after he had settled down to commence business, a fresh wave of violence erupted in Mandera, the very insecure part of the country that significantly contributed to the sacking of Boinett’s predecessor— David Kimaiyo. Weeks before he was shown the door, Kimaiyo was accused of being incompetent in providing leadership in the fight against crime. Many ordinary Kenyans and security experts blamed the National Police Service under Kimaiyo’s leadership of being slow and sloppy in responding to security emergencies. Above all, the police under Kimaiyo was accused of not working on intelligence information supplied by the National Intelligence Service.

But Kimaiyo would always shift blame, claiming that the various intelligence information supplied by the spy agency was vague and ‘non-specific’ hence not useful.
With Boinnet as the new police boss, Kenyans can reasonably expect that the blame-game over acting on intelligence information will be a thing of the past. Why? Because Boinnet comes highly recommended as a former officer with the National Intelligence Service, and given that he also worked in the spy agency under the leadership of his highly decorated cousin, Wilson Bionnet, Kenyans have a right to demand a lot from the new police boss.

And this is why Kenyans expect a lot from the new cop in town. During his vetting, Boinett promised to curb crime and weed out corruption saying he would not tolerate nonsense. The 52-year-old is a career policeman who holds a Masters degree in Security Policy from the Australian National Security University and a degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington University. Despite questions being raised about the legitimacy of some of his academic qualifications, Boinnet  also has qualifications in strategy, public management and leadership development. Prior to his appointment, Boinett served as an Assistant Director  of External Intelligence at the NationalIntelligence Service.

When nominating him in December 2014, President Kenyatta described Mr Boinnet as an accomplished public officer. In this regard, Boinett’s appointment as  Inspector General of Police marks the establishment of what can be described as a ‘dream team’ to run the country’s internal security affairs, given that a couple of months ago President Kenyatta also fired his hitherto ‘in-effective’ Interior Minister, Joseph Ole Lenku, and replaced him with Major General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery. It is interesting to note that the men who have been tasked to handled the country’s internal security matters in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration have one thing in common— all have the first names of Old Testament leaders who exhibited exemplary leadership qualities. Joseph Ole Lenku, Joseph Nkaissery and Joseph Boinett are named after ‘Joseph’, the Old Testament son of Jacob who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers but who would later rise to become a trusted high-ranking officer in Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph would also be the savior of his family and the very brothers who sold him into slavery.

David Kimaiyo, on the other hand, is named after the indefatigable and decorated king ‘David’ who led his people in decisive battles against formidable enemies. From Kimaiyo, Kenyans did not get the kind of leadership that King David afforded his people. Likewise, Kenyans did not get from Ole Lenku the kind of salvation that Joseph of the Old Testament afforded his people at the hour of great need. We hope that Nkaissery and Boinnet will live up to the expectations that come with the name ‘Joseph.’ One of the priority security challenges that the two reigning ‘Josephs’ are expected to handle effectively and efficiently is the insecurity in Mandera and Wajir counties. That criminals, Kenyan or foreign, have made these two counties their playground is unacceptable. Unacceptable because the thought  of gunmen taking control of entire counties and holding residents to ransom is nothing but an infringement of the country’s sovereignty.

We acknowledge that the kind of security challenge that the government faces in Mandera and Wajir is an onerous one. But we also expect the government to acknowledge this fact and thereby seek new strategies of dealing with this challenge. Already, Mandera governor Ali Roba has threatened to mobilize the people of his county to take charge of their own security given that the government seems unable to deal with it. Many may scoff at governor Roba’s threat as illegal. However, if one looks at it from a sober perspective, one soon realizes that governor Roba is simply talking about community policing, only that he put it a crude manner. Indeed, if the concept of community policing is taken a notch higher, then allowing the people of Mandera and Wajir to take charge of their own security in a structured manner may not be such a bad idea. Could Nkaissery and Boinnet pursue Roba’s threat and turn into something productive under the community policing policy?

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