President Uhuru Kenyatta has commended police officers for being “firm” during the electioneering period.
In a signal from the police headquarters, that contains the Head-of-State’s message, officers deployed during the period discharged their duty “professionally” and “in accordance with the law.”
However, the message is likely to ignite more pressure from the opposition and human rights organisations that since the August 8 election, continuously accused police of deploying excessive and brutal force.
“I have been directed by the President to convey his commendation to officers of all ranks involved in various stages of the 2017 general elections exercise for the high degree of professionalism and dedication to duty displayed during the entire period,” read the signal signed by director of operations at Kenya police headquarters Benson Kibui.
According to the signal, the President’s message came via Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and the Deputy Inspector General Joel Kitili.
“He (the President) has equally noted that notwithstanding the intense political competition and the unprecedented repeat presidential polls the national police service remained firm in execution of its mandate and in the service of Kenyan people,” it added.
The signal is dated November 30 and stamped “confidential.”
It is also referenced as “Secpol” which is a police parlance for a secret document that should be circulated on a need to know basis.
The signal also said: “On my own behalf, I (president) wish to commend all officers for their selfless dedication to duty that saw the national police service with the support of other national security agencies, cover the 2017 electoral process effectively and in accordance with the law.”
It added: “Let us therefore keep up the positive spirit in the service of our motherland.”
Mr Kibui sent it to regional and formation commanders across the country with the orders that: “You are therefore directed to convey this message to all officers under your respective commands.”
The President's statements comes in the backdrop of criticism against security officers for using unnecessary force on citizens during the protracted election period.
Kenya National Commission on Human rights chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said 62 deaths were recorded in various parts of the country and the figure is likely rise.
In an interview with NTV, Independent Medico-Legal Unit executive director Peter Kiama said in October, 64 people sustained serious injuries, including 34 of them who had gunshot wounds.
He also said that evidence gathered by IMLU “demonstrates a situation of war,” the violence should only be investigated by an independent institutions.
But police have put a spirited defence saying officers deployed to quell violence restrained themselves.