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Police boss nominee with distaste for rank-pullers

Hillary Mutyambai
Mr Hillary Mutyambai during his vetting on March 28, 2019, at Parliament Buildings. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Right through his childhood, Hillary Nzioki Mutyambai’s ambition to serve in the Roman Catholic Church was unconcealable.

Born in a Catholic family some 55 years ago and schooled in institutions sponsored by the church, his admiration for the faith was at fever-pitch.

Mr Mutyambai almost enrolled for seminary lessons but gave in to a spirited dissuasion by mentors, friends and relatives who convinced him to join the Kenya Police in 1991.

Coincidentally, he was at the time teaching biology, mathematics and physics at his former school — Pope Paul VI Junior Seminary School in Machakos.

For the man nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta to be Kenya’s next Inspector General of Police, his love for the Catholic church remains intact.

“My life in the Catholic schools inculcated in me the spirit of humbling compassion. There are those who complain that I’m too passionate about humanity in my life. But that is me, you cannot change it because it is a core value that is inbuilt in my soul and which I play fidelity to with a passion,” he says.

Described by peers as “a man of few words and a discomforting incisive gaze” Mr Mutyambai says his nomination to succeed Joseph Boinnet surprised him.

“To be sincere I was not expecting that nomination. But it came and that is where we are now. If Parliament approves me next week I will assume office and prove my abilities,” he says.

His former boss at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Wachira Kameru describes Mutyambai in his seconding brief to the President as “emotionally balanced, reliable, trusted, polite, approachable, firm and authoritative.”

Among others who approved him to the President is Michael L’Estrange who headed the National Security College in Australia.

House allowances

His appointment comes at a time police officers are complaining of low morale owing to erratic house allowances, contentious promotions, fractious merger between regular and administration police officers as well as widely frowned upon colour of new uniform.

Further, his nomination comes when there are concerns about police discipline, especially corruption, extrajudicial killings and harassment of citizens.

“I’m not coming into this carrying any illusions that it will be a walk in the park… I know there are real issues in this job. But my work will be to play that enabling team leader for realisation of honest action plan to address our challenges. I’m not a stranger in our security sector because I have been in it all my working life, so far,” Mr Mutyambai says.

He says he brings in expertise to be the team leader to set up ethics and integrity standards in his new mandate, deploy effective diplomacy to enhance cohesion while spearheading sound management skills at all command levels of the police service.

“This will bring on board all officers to embrace the culture of collective responsibility and where seniority in rank will not be a weapon to ride roughshod on junior officers. It will be a culture where we all work together, not juniors working for the seniors,” he said.

He reveals that he has been instrumental in setting up key security administrative and operational systems that have posted tangible results in securing the country.

Counter-terrorism

Coming from the position of deputy director of counter-terrorism, the nominee says he is home in the police service since he has been providing it with intelligence.

“I have also been collaborating with joint security operation teams, including the office of the public prosecutions in investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases,” he says.

A close adviser describes Mr Mutyambai as a highly rated professional in criminal investigations, with globally recognised strengths.

“He brings in a wealth of 28 years of investigative and law enforcement experiences. He is competent in staff profiling, training and supervision,” the adviser told Business Daily.

Junior police officers, the adviser said, will get an acknowledged mentor who supports others, demonstrating a lead-by-example approach while coordinating teams.

He is a University of Nairobi Bachelor of Science in Agriculture graduate who later pursued Master of Arts in National Security Policy at Australian National University.

He also holds leadership certificate in counter-terrorism from University of New Orleans in America.

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