Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | Kenya’s security officers in the police, prisons and NYS services are slated to receive a 40% pay rise over the next three years, as outlined in a security sector review proposal by President William Ruto.
The move aims to uplift morale and fortify security efforts in the country. The recommendation, a result of a task force seeking to enhance policing, addresses concerns about the well-being of security personnel, who have faced criticism for brutality and corruption.
Despite previous attempts to raise their pay, the challenges facing the police force, including low wages, mental health issues, and instances of officers turning to crime, persisted. President Ruto emphasized that the proposed salary increase, awaiting approval from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), aligns with broader reforms to tackle issues such as underfunding, deficient leadership, structural weaknesses, and corruption within the security sector.
President Ruto acknowledged corruption as a serious problem within the police service and pledged to address it firmly.
“I have seen the recommendation made by the taskforce to enhance salaries of our police, NYS and prison service by 40% over the next three years. I think it is a well-considered recommendation and we will now await the work from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to make the necessary adjustment so that we can implement the recommendation,” President Ruto stated.
“Our primary objective is to secure the transformation of this nation by instituting a professional, efficient, effective security sector which is defined by integrity and accountability,” he added.
The proposed reforms, including the salary increase, are intended to address the recommendations made by the task force, led by former chief justice David Maraga, which was established in December under President Ruto’s leadership.
Among the task force’s recommendations are raising the minimum age for entry into the police force to 21 from 18 years, increasing the minimum education requirement to a C-minus grade – currently the minimum entry is a D-plus grade, and enhancing training programs.
Additionally, the task force advocates for improved medical and housing allowances, reducing prison overcrowding, and expanding the National Youth Service (NYS), a state-run program aimed at training young people in life and business skills.
President Ruto expressed commitment to implementing all the recommendations but cautioned that certain changes might take time due to necessary legal and policy amendments.
The announcement of the 40% pay rise of security officers in the Kenya police, prisons and the National Youth Service (NYS), coincides with the country’s struggle with a cost-of-living crisis, marked by the government’s implementation of various tax and fee hikes.