The First Police Accountability Conference in Africa held in Nairobi

By Sarah Nyakio

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, guaranteed that he would not relent in taking action against errant police officers including those in positions of authority who abuse their power.

Speaking during the first police accountability conference in Africa held in Nairobi, Mr Haji said he is a strong proponent of police accountability and assured the participants that his office will not find comfort in police excesses within the justice system.

The two-day conference organized by ICJ Kenya in partnership with CLEEN Foundation, Afro-Asia Association for Justice Development and Institute for Development and Communication is set to discuss ways of achieving effective, legitimate and sustainable security sector reforms. The conference comes at a time when efforts to build effective, accountable and inclusive police institutions have gained momentum in Kenya through institutions like the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).

ICJ Kenya Chair Mr Kelvin Mogeni mentioned that accountable policing entails an honest acceptance by the police to be questioned about their decisions and actions

According to the Better but Still Unequal report, the police are perceived to be the greatest violators of human rights. One in three Kenyans polled has seen or heard about unlawful killings by the police in the last six months.

The DPP was keen to note that his office seeks to enhance democratic and functional policing to entrench the rule of law, boost public confidence and enhance police legitimacy.

“My office has set out to develop guidelines to guide the standard operating procedures dealing with investigations and prosecution of matters related to police accountability,” said Haji.

Haji further added that through the conference his office seeks to come up with a shared vision and understanding of issues that govern the relationships between communities, security agencies and the criminal justice sector.

Mr Mogeni also further added that the conference will initiate dialogue to not only share the challenges and best practices gathered over the years, but also to cement long-lasting bonds which will aid in strengthening a police sector.

CLEEN Foundation Chairman Prof Etannibi Alemika, in his speech read by CLEEN Executive Director Dr Benson Chinedu emphasized that police accountability entails holding law enforcement officials and agencies accountable for their performance and conduct.

The forum brought together the Police, its oversight institutions, civil society actors, donors’ agencies and development partners from different African countries. The two-day conference aims at assessing the progress of various policing authorities and to evaluate their effectiveness and come up with concrete solutions and recommendations as to the best ways to approach the police system in Africa.

Some of the speakers at the conference were Program Director Afro Asia Association Justice Development Prof. Rainuka Dagar, National Police Service Corporate Communication affairs Charles Owino and Member of the National Police Service Reforms Directorate Musita Anyangu among others.