This past weekend i started writing an article on the life of the Kenyan policeman then quickly got rid of it because i thought it was not good enough.Since yesterday though i have changed my mind after seeing two episodes of a crime series being ran by the Kenya Television Network on the life of the Kenyan Policeman that is titled In the line of Fire.
The series started off on a very sad note yesterday when the crew of two decided to follow a patrol team on the streets of Nairobi at about 11 pm,it started off tragically.A few minutes into the patrol along Luthuli avenue they heard gun shots, a policeman had been felled by some thugs who bumped into him on his patrol and shot the father of three dead.He would be going home in a coffin and his children were robbed of a father,his wife was now a widow.
It is reported that at least 145 policemen die every year in the course of duty that is more than 10 every month,and translates to at least two if not three every week.A lot of the time a dead policeman is just a statistic and we hardly ever give much thought to the fact that he has left behind a family, a wife,parents or even siblings.The Kenya policeman has been so dehumanized that the citizens he protects and the state he works for hardly ever hold him in high regard less s when he is dead.
The basic pay of a Kenyan policeman includes a house allowance of 1600 Kenya shillings,health insurance of 495 shillings and a basic pay of 18000 Kenya shillings.With the dollar exchange rate at an average of 82 Kenya shillings,the average Kenyan policeman earns just $219.51.
This is barely enough to cover basic needs in todays harsh economic times and may be one of the main reasons policemen engage in extra activities to supplement their meagre pay.The police force has been villified for so long for being a corrupt entity yet meausre such a improving their terms of employement would go a long way towards detering them from taking bribes and greatly improve our security.Measures such as allocating enough resources every fiscal year that would gotowards improving housing,ensuring each person in the force gets health insurance,providing bullet proof vests and providing lighter fire arms,getting them trained on basic investigative kills,organizing team building activities would greatly improve the forces working conditions and boosting morale
It has not helped that the police have not done much to redeem the tainted image most Kenyans have of them by taking on serious reforms.Maybe it is time Mathew Iteere became more vocal in pleading,whether by shouting from the roof tops,banging the tables or plain lobbying to demand for more money to be allocated to the force,something needs to be done and very fast.