By Bryan Kramer. | 08.09.19.

On Thursday the Post Courier published an article under the above headline. The paper was reporting on the statement issued by executives of the Police Association, President, Lowa Tambua and General Secretary, Clement Kanau in response to recent NEC decision to revoke the appointment of Mr. Francis Tokura as Acting Commissioner for Police and appointing Mr. David Manning in his place.

The National published the same story under the title “Kramer Accused of Politicizing Police Force”

Both President and General Secretary issued a joint statement and condemned my “ignorance and a blatant disregard of existing procedures and processes of appointing Police Commissioners, then revoking such appointments unceremoniously now and in recent past.”

My Response:

While I acknowledge being accused of being ignorant for purportedly disregarding existing procedures and processes, neither gentlemen provided any actual evidence as to what process wasn’t followed.

Funnily enough I was also accused of not following the process after NEC revoked the appointment of former Acting Commissioner of Police Gary Baki and appointed Mr Tukura in his place. Mr Tokura and Association executives are now accusing the me of the same.

So what is the process?

Section 198 of Constitution provides for the Office of Commissioner of Police. This is why it is commonly referred to as a Constitutional Office – being created by the Constitution.

It states there shall be an office of Commissioner of Police, who shall be responsible for the superintendence, efficient organization and control of the Force in accordance with an Act of the Parliament.

The Act of Parliament is the Police Act 1988, it also provides for the establishment of the Office of Commissioner for Police.

Section 9 of the Police Act provides for the appointment of the Commissioner of Police. It states that the Commissioner of Police is appointed in accordance with Section 193(2) of Constitution.

It provides for the process for appointments of certain Constitutional Offices which includes Commissioner for Police.

It states that all appointments, whether temporary (acting) or substantive (permanent) shall be made by the Head of State (Governor General), based on the advice (decision) of the National Executive Council (NEC) after consultation with the Public Service Commission and any appropriate Permanent Parliamentary Committee (being the Appointments Committee)

Public Service Commission (PSC) is a Constitutional body, established under Section 190 of the Constitution. It is made up of three Commissioners who are responsible for Personnel matters relating to the appointment, suspension and/or revocation of appointment of Departmental Heads, Provincial Administrators, Heads of Regulatory Statutory Authorities, including Constitutional Offices.

When a submission is made for permanent or acting positions PSC must be consulted. They will then carry out an independent assessment of the candidate(s), reviewing their CV, etc to determine they possess the required qualifications and experience for the position.

Parliament Permanent Appointments Committee is made up of seven Members of Parliament, they must also be consulted on any proposed appointments whether acting or permanent.

Permanent appointments involve an extensive process – the position is advertised by, Department of Personnel Management, who will screen and short list a maximum of 5 suitable candidates.

The list is then submitted to PSC to carry out a merit-based assessment before submitting a short list of 3 candidates in order of preference to the Minister responsible to submit to Parliament Appointments Committee before being submitted to NEC.

In this case, the Minister responsible being Police. NEC will then consider the short list of candidates before making a decision. It may support the PSC decision on the 1st preferred candidate or consider anyone of the other two.

If it feels all three candidates are not suitable it may reject the short list and ask the process be carried out again.

Unlike permanent appointments, acting appointments comes into play when there is a vacancy. Where the Minister responsible may recommend a person or person(s) to act in the position for 3 months until a substantive (permanent) appointment is made, whichever occurs first.

For obvious reasons it would not be practical to advertise the position or involve Department of Personnel Management. The law, Police Act and Constitution only require that the PSC and Parliament Committee are consulted before NEC makes a final decision.

So was the process followed to revoke Mr Tokura’s acting appointment as Commissioner of Police and appoint Mr Manning in his place?

Short answer is Yes – both PSC and Appointments Committee were consulted before NEC made its decision.

Does NEC have the powers to revoke an acting appointment?

Short answer is Yes – In 2011 NEC revoked the acting appointment of Fred Yakasa, who was then Acting Deputy Commissioner for Police. Mr. Yakasa challenged the decision in the Courts that ruled an appointing authority may revoke an acting appointment at anytime especially where there is no tenure (formal contract) attached to an acting appointment.”

My advice to both Police Association President, Mr. Tambua and General Secretary, Mr Kanau is that perhaps next time, before going to the press branding a Minister of State ignorant of existing procedures and processes of appointment or accusing him of politicizing the Force, it would be sensible to first inform yourself of the facts.

I would understand if I was accused of being ignorant of the role of the Police Association and how 3,000 members who contribute K30 fortnightly (K2.38 million it received last year) are accounted for and expended each year.

And whether the executives produced an annual audited report, a requirement under rule 18 of the Association’s articles.

I would normally be happy to look into such issues and make them public however right I’m focused on working with the new Acting Commissioner to address the serious administrative, financial and discipline issues facing the Force, more importantly the welfare of its 7,500 members.

All of the above issues aside I was certainly encouraged by the news that the Executives have pledge their support to work with new Acting Commissioner David Manning.

Picture: Police Association General Secretary Clement Kanau (left) and President Lowa Tambua (right)


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