‘Inakaa kama primary school ya China,’ Olekina supports bid to change police uniform

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 28 Sep, 2022 12:09 | 3 mins read
'Inakaa kama primary school ya China,' Olekina supports bid to change police uniform
A photo collage of Narok Senator Ledama Olekina and police officers in the new persian blue uniform. PHOTO/Courtesy

Narok Senator Ledama Olekina is the latest politician to criticize the new police uniform, amid plans by the Kenya Kwanza administration to change it.

In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, September 28, the outspoken ODM party politician likened the current uniform to the one worn by primary school children in China.

Police officers in the current persian blue uniform. PHOTO/Courtesy
Police officers in the current persian blue uniform. PHOTO/Courtesy

While faulting immediate former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i over policy changes that saw the government start phasing out the old navy blue and jungle green colours in September 2018, Ledama stated that the new uniforms must be changed.

"The Kenya Police uniforms must be changed … I don’t know what Matiangi was thinking yaani inakaa kama primary school ya China! We must stop this kickback business," Ledama tweeted.

Change police uniform

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been vocal about revoking the current police outfit.

During the campaign period, the former Mathira Member of Parliament promised that the Kenya Kwanza administration led by President William Ruto would effect a raft of reforms in the National Police Service to better the welfare of the dedicated men and women in uniform.

Likening the uniform to the blue uniform worn by women in PCEA church, the vocal politician said a majority of the officers were opposed to changes in the police uniform.

"You have suffered so much in the hands of Matiang'i and Kibicho. Even the new blue uniform that you don't want will be revoked and we return to the old one. The blue one will be left for PCEA church. It is the uniform of women's guild," he said.

He also vowed to spearhead a revision of the salaries and wages of the officers, which he said have stagnated since the end of President Mwai Kibaki's tenure.

His remarks immediately attracted criticism from the clergy who stated that the legislator's statement was an insult to the church and Kenyan women.

The religious leaders also termed the remarks as reckless.

"Gachagua should respect the Church and stop being reckless,” Archbishop Josam Kariuki stated.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho also called out Gachagua over the remarks he termed "unfortunate and disparaging".

Kibicho said the Uniform Committee, which has the final word on police uniforms, approved the blue colour to represent the unified attire following the merger of the Administration Police and the Kenya Police under the National Police Service (NPS). 

"The merger was intended to boost efficiency and optimize resources. Politicians who are criticizing the new uniform were being insincere as they ought to know the circumstances and the process surrounding the adoption of a neutral colour to symbolize the merger and the abandoning of the previous AP and the Kenya Police signature colours," the PS said in an interview with Kameme FM.

"Uniforms are not just a matter of colour. They signify certain doctrines that must be appreciated whenever a merger occurs. It is disrespectful for (Mathira MP) Rigathi Gachagua, who as a former government administrator, knows too well the role of the Uniform Committee, to contemptuously dismiss the careful considerations that informed the new uniform,” he added.

He said police uniforms are now being wholly made in Kenya by local textiles firms based in Thika, Kitui, Nakuru and Eldoret under a Buy Kenya, Build Kenya government drive that had also significantly cut down costs. 

This, he said, enabled the hiring of more officers and the modernization of police equipment.

“By cutting out the cartels that had infiltrated our police procurement, we have been able to modernize our service and raise the ratio of police to citizens to 1:380 well beyond the UN recommended 1:450. We were also used to our officers protecting us with rungus. But we have now made sure our officers have enough guns and other tools of work,” the PS said.