Photo: National Police Reservists vetting exercise in Marsabit Central Police Station Grounds.
You often see them wearing battered khaki uniforms with rifles dangling from their shoulders. Some walk barefoot under the searing harsh weather in the arid north.When cattle rustlers strike, they are expected to protect defenseless pastoralists.
But the National Police Reservists are increasingly coming under the spotlight, amid allegations that many of them could be fuelling the endless bloodshed in northern Kenya.
For the last two days the National Police Reservists vetting in Marsabit County was underway in Police Headquarters as the team led by NPR Director Robert Kitur carry out the exercise in Sakuu Sub-County.
The main objective of the vetting for the police reservists is to review the structure and recruitment of the reservists or even scrap it altogether following claims of corruption, misuse of weapons and incompetence.
“KPR have a good working relationship with the common mwananchi at grassroots level, and their involvement in the fight against these vices would improve efficiency in fighting crime,” said Robert Kitur.
Robert said that most police reservists lead a deplorable life even after volunteering to offer security to their communities and now the government is going to pay them Kes.5000 for allowances.
Marsabit County Police Commander Ben Logo said that the exercise is vital and it has come in right time as the nation is preparing for general election on August.
Security experts recently raised the red flag over the use of police reservists and home guards to fight insecurity, saying they were not only ill-trained to fight the bandits but were also comprising the lives of the communities they are expected to guard by colluding with the aggressors.
After the vetting exercise the recruited Police Reservists will undergone vigorous military training and they will receive new and advance firearms to make them efficient in their service according to National Police Act.