The Police should be our best friends because they protect our lives. Right? Logically, governments should do all they can to encourage the police and other law enforcement agencies to do their work patriotically and diligently. That includes providing them with the necessary tools and equipment to make their work easy. The recent report from Kenya’s ministry in charge of policing indicates that the department may have lost at least $1.7m (£1.3m) due to corrupt practices in the purchase of officers’ shoes. Call it the Kenyan Police Shoe-gate, if you like.
According to the Auditor General Edward Ouko, the cost of items purchased for the police had not only been inflated, receipts were equally falsified. While 26,500 pairs of shoes were budgeted for, the payment vouchers show 78,000 pairs were paid for instead, the auditor narrated. Furthermore, the bill for 4,420 motorcycles had been inflated, according to the Auditor General.
With all the price increase and extra “ordered” shoes, one would have expected that the officers would at least, enjoy the shoe bonanza. But that is far from the truth. A physical inspection by Auditor General had shown “pathetic and unpleasant situation” which has forced some police officers to opt “to buy shoes from various vendors, contrary to dress regulations for police officers.”
When next we accuse the African police of corruption, we should honestly and fairly remember that circumstances like the Kenyan Police Shoe-Gate are not inseparable from the realities surrounding the African police and the way they discharge their tasks.