Corridors Of Power

Changes In Nyanza Police Hierarchy Causes Ripples

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Nyanza regional police boss Karanja Muiruri made drastic overhaul that saw the transfer of officers commanding wards across five counties in the region. This is the first major transfer after a similar one attempted by his predecessor Vincent Makokha was rudely revoked by the Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua. In what seemingly demoralised Makokha, a directive from the office of Inspector General stated that his office did not have the final say on the transfer of officers under his area of jurisdiction. The development came at a time Makokha at the centre of supremacy war and pure betrayal by his colleagues who seemingly were not comfortable with his new style of operations. When he took over as the new regional police boss, he vowed to hunt and dismantle cartels promoting illegal activities at the borders as well as suppress criminal activities in the region. Before the dream could come true, he was unceremoniously recalled to Vigilance House where he is presently serving as the Director of Police Reservist.

Karanja MuiruriHowever, in what appears as stamping authority after being promoted as the assistant Inspector General of Police, the new Nyanza police boss action to transfer the officers went through without any trouble. In a transfer letter dated April 16 and copied to DIG Mbugua, Muiruri stated that the changes are meant to enhance service delivery. Mourine Livanda who was the staffing officer in Marani in Kisii county is the new boss at Ugunja in Siaya. Silvanus Shipendi, the current Ugunja station boss is proceeding on leave pending retirement. Mohamed Ibrahim who was also a staffing officer in Kisii South will take charge of Itumbe Police Station. Fred Leparlee moves from Nyamira county where he was the boss for Riotonyi Police Station to head Migori Police Station. Boniface Mutie swaps positions with Leparlee as he becomes the new Riotonyi police station commander. Chrispin Nyaga who was the staffing officer at Gem sub-county headquarters in Siaya has moved to Piny Oyie Police Station in Migori county. Wycliffe Kwendo who was the deputy OCS at Kisii Central moves to Kisumu county as the deputy OCS for Rabuor Police Station. Security experts say the promotion of Karanja is seen as a clear signal that the top security organ is comfortable with him in the region ahead of 2022 general elections.

Vincent MakokhaKaranja breaks the record to become the first Nyanza regional commander to receive good news, after three of his predecessors were quickly transferred from the hostile region in perceived competing political and security interests. He was among the 20 senior police officers promoted in changes announced by the Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai in what was meant to boost the morale of the officers who were in their current offices with lesser ranks. When Karanja took over from Lydia Ligami, there was an immediate debate whether he would manage the situation after three of his predecessors were unceremoniously hounded from the lucrative position in a span of a few months. Ligami was barely two months in the office when she was recalled to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters. Ahead of her transfer to the region, Ligami survived a police helicopter crash at Kithoka area in Meru while she was still serving as the Eastern regional commander. However, her entrance in Nyanza was met by two major events, the highly tension packed William Ruto rally in Kisii and the deadly Legio Maria Church leadership chaos that left at least five people dead, several others injured and property destroyed. This possibly exposed her to the wave of transfer that had just swept her immediate predecessor Noah Mwivanda and Vincent Makokha who paved the way for Mwivanda. 

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Edward MbuguaOf all the transfers, it is that of Makokha which ignited tension among the rank and file of the local police as many widely believed that it was a matter of witch-hunting. Some security experts observe that Makokha was a victim of the 48 Laws of Power rule number one which warns against outshining your master. Important to note, his official car was at one time used by Uhuru Kenyatta during one of his secret tours to Kisumu. This sent tongues wagging as he was the only top security officer who had been briefed of the event. By the time he settled for his new assignment, Makokha disbanded the Spiv Unit, a notorious team of plainclothes Administration Police officers. His new style of operations including, crackdown on drug and contraband trafficking rings which had taken root in Nyanza is believed did not go down well with some top officers and it was rumoured that this triggered a cold war between him and Nyanza DCI boss Joseph Kipsoi. Exit Makhoha, entered Noah Mwivanda who was transferred barely five months after taking over the helm of the region’s security. 

Lydia LigamiPrior to his transfer Mwivanda had braved several accusations from the locals and other stakeholders who pin pointed his laxity and love for the bottle that would make him run operations from the bar most of his time. However, when Karanja later took over from Ligami, many had waited with bated breath whether he would manage to stay longer or it would be business as usual at the region seen to be highly volatile in terms of politics and frequent antagonism from all corners. It obviously turned out as a big surprise to many, when instead of going through fire baptism as was widely anticipated, Karanja was promoted to the rank of assistant Inspector General of Police. He is now in charge of coordinating security operations in the larger Nyanza region consisting of six counties, Nyamira, Kisii, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Homabay. The officer had previously served in Kisumu in 2015 as the head of the dreaded AP unit, Quick Response Team.


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