• Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome confirmed the scaling down of the security detail, saying it was aimed at allowing efficient use of police officers.
• Until then, Uhuru had been enjoying the protection of more than 15 security officers since leaving office in August last year when he handed over to President William Ruto.
Last week, the security detail of the immediate former President Uhuru Kenyatta was scaled down sparking uproar and disquiet from his camp in the opposition.
Until then, Uhuru had been enjoying the protection of more than 15 security personnel since leaving office in August last year when he handed over to his successor President William Ruto.
Other sources within the police said Uhuru’s security detail had been reduced from 96 to 25 officers and his family members' security detail withdrawn.
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome confirmed the scaling down of the security detail saying it was aimed at allowing the efficient use of police officers.
“There is no politics in this. And the Inspector General will not accept to be dragged into politics,” Koome said on Friday, February 3, at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
He said the changes were necessary since Uhuru’s security detail was still being led by an officer of the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police, who ideally should be in charge of the entire Presidential Escort Unit.
As such, Koome said the head of Uhuru’s security team had been recalled and replaced with an officer of a lower rank.
“I have recalled that officer to be given command responsibilities commensurate with his rank,” the IG said.
But despite this explanation, opposition leaders continue to cite politics as the motive behind the reduction of Uhuru’s security.
“I’m told there is a list, those of us who were ministers in Uhuru’s government, who were close to Uhuru, they are not just targeting Uhuru, they are targeting us as well,” former Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa said.
Speaking during the ODM Parliamentary Group meeting in Machakos county, Wamalwa said his security was also scaled down from four to just one officer.
But what exactly does the law say about the security of a retired president?
Section 5(e)(i) of the Presidential Benefits Act on the additional benefits of a retired president caps the security detail of a retired president at a maximum of six police officers.
“Such number of guards for personal and escort unit as may from time to time be certified by the minister responsible for national security in consultation with the retired president provided that there should be a maximum of six security guards,” the Act states.
It further states that adequate security should be provided at the urban and rural residences of a retired president as certified by the minister in charge of security “provided that there shall be a maximum of six security guards.”
The Act further states that a retired president is entitled to support staff including two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers and four drivers.
He is also entitled to two cooks, two housekeepers, two gardeners, two laundry persons, four house cleaners, office maintenance and the maintenance and running expenses of his vehicles.
"A retired President shall, during his lifetime, be entitled to two new cars of the retired President’s choice, replaceable every three years, each car having an engine capacity not exceeding three thousand cubic centimetres," the Act further states.
It adds that he is also entitled to two four-wheel drive motor vehicles of his choice of not more than 3400cc, replaceable every three years, and a fuel allowance of Sh200,000 per month.
Still on travel matters, a retired president is entitled to a diplomatic passport, access to the V.I.P. lounges at all airports within Kenya, and international travel allowance of up to four trips a year not exceeding two weeks each.
An allowance of Sh300,000 per month for electricity, water and telephone facilities is also part of a retired president's perks as well as full medical for local and overseas treatment which also covers the spouse and children below 18 years.
Housing allowance is capped at Sh300,000 and entertainment allowance at Sh200,000 per month.
"The pension and other benefits conferred by this Act shall, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, be exempt from tax," the Act says.
A retired president is entitled to the benefits during his lifetime, but upon his death, his surviving spouse is entitled to 50 per cent of the perks.
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