n African Human Rights Law Journal - Police accountability in Kenya

Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article examines the Kenya Police Force and how the current 'constitutional moment' may be seized for much needed reform. The police have been at the nexus of the most serious problems facing Kenyan society: corruption, crime, inter-ethnic violence and vigilantism. Institutional arrangements are needed to ensure police accountability. Accountability has the following components: popular accountability, legal accountability and transparency. It is essential that the police be insulated from extralegal or illegal political interference and that internal and external supervisory and complaints mechanisms holding members of the police accountable, exist. The article discusses police accountability in Kenya. Brief comparative sketches of Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Northern Ireland are given. These countries have taken steps to broaden the range of actors and institutions to which the police are accountable and to have the executive share the power of appointing and removing senior officers of the police. The article ends with six recommendations on how to enshrine popular accountability, legal accountability and transparency as the central values in Kenyan law enforcement.

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