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George Kinoti, the country’s crime Mr Fix It

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By JOHN KAMAU
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George Kinoti’s first call was priesthood, and that, probably, is the reason he always carries a rosary in his pocket. But it was at the police service, his second-choice career, that he received baptism by fire.

It was while growing up in the crime-ridden slums of Makutano in Meru that his poor family caught the attention of Catholic Bishop Rt Rev Cyrus Njiru, the Bishop Emeritus of Meru who is now retired in Rome.

Mr Kinoti came from a poor family and his single mother did manual jobs. “We were deeply religious,” he tells me.

It was in the slums that he came across crime and police brutality. “They all looked like monsters and I was always wondering, can’t there be a civil face of the police?”

With the guidance of Bishop Njiru, the young Kinoti’s aspirations were limited and he wanted to become a priest and later join the Jesuit fathers of Sicily. He had by then graduated from St Pius X Seminary, regarded for the last 60 years as the seed-bed of priests in Meru, and where students live to the school motto of Sidera Tangam, Latin for ‘I will touch the stars’.

Although he had passed to join the Advanced Levels, his heart was in priesthood and it took the prodding of Bishop Njiru for him to join Kanyakine High School and, later, Egerton University.

Initially, Bishop Njiru had told him that he was “too young” to make a decision on joining priesthood, but after he graduated from Egerton the bishop agreed to Mr Kinoti’s request to join the police.

“I was being driven by humanity,” says Mr Kinoti. “I wanted a place I could serve the community.”

For the last one year, Mr Kinoti has distinguished himself as the country’s crime Mr Fix It, tackling head-on the untouchable cartels within the government and its institutions.

“When I came here there was a perception that I had come with a mind-set to transfer officers, settle scores, and change the DCI structure. But that is not what I wanted to do. I called all my officers and told them: ‘It is your output that determines whether you will remain here.”

For starters, he debunked the myth of seniority and asked his officers to rally behind his philosophy of team work.

He assembled a few trusted officers, then scattered them all over the country, and asked them to start looking at all the cases that had piled up at the DCI over the years.

“I was shocked by the number of pending cases here; something had to be done. The DCI was a den of corruption and files moved or stalled depending on the amount paid,” he remembers.

In some of the first assignments, Mr Kinoti would go to the field with his junior officers to help them investigate cases and boost their morale.

Of late he has managed to take to court senior officials from Kenya Power and Kenya Pipeline Company, and also personally arrested Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

The DCI says that he has no sacred cows and vows to resign the moment he is asked not to investigate a particular case.

“We are not profiling any particular tribe and those claiming that I have an agenda against any group should come up with statistical data to back their claims. When I wake up, I only follow the trail of crime and it does not matter what tribe the criminal comes from.”

But he laments that the Judiciary is frustrating his efforts, and that “well-connected people are using the courts to stop investigations”.

“The judges are giving all manner of orders to stop us from working. Cases are being dismissed on flimsy grounds and I keep asking myself for whom the Judiciary stands. Who stands for the common mwananchi when victims of crime are treated as villains?”

He says he has “never” received a call from high office asking him to drop a case, “but emissaries have been sent here with money, lots of money, and I told them off”.

Trained in the UK, Israel, Sweden, the US and France, among other countries, Mr Kinoti holds a Master’s degree in security management. Next year he will be the man to watch as the hearings of the cases he is investigating start in court.

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