INL is actively engaged in Kenya’s efforts to professionalize its police service, combat corruption within police ranks, and respond to incidents of transnational crime. In addition, INL has committed resources to support law enforcement efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.
Widespread corruption in Kenya inflicts substantial costs upon the economy, society, and security, and undermines citizen confidence in the rule of law. In 2015, Kenya ranked 139 out of 167 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Impunity for security force misconduct also contributes to Kenyans’ lack of confidence in security institutions and undermines the country’s overall security. The September 2013, terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall and the 2015 attack on a university in Garissa are examples of the level of insecurity that Kenyans, and Americans living in Kenya, suffer. In addition, Kenya will hold vital national elections in 2017 with the prospect of renewed elections-related violence.
Kenya is one of the United States’ most important allies in East Africa. Together, we address various transnational criminal networks involved in drug trafficking, wildlife poaching and perpetrating terrorism, such as al-Shabaab. A significant portion of American foreign assistance to Kenya focuses on its security sector preparedness, although the Westgate and Garissa attacks are evidence of Kenya’s continued need for law enforcement support. INL’s contribution to police reform enhances our relationship with the Kenyan government by supporting its reform goals. A safer Kenya will offer better protection to American citizens and interests in the region.
INL’s programming in Kenya is designed to address the crippling culture of police impunity for misconduct and criminal behavior. INL supports three Kenyan government agencies whose mandate is to bolster police accountability. We offer operational and technical assistance to the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the National Police Service, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), and the National Police Service Commission (NPSC). The latter two bodies are civilian-staffed and provide external oversight of the police. Together, the Government of Kenya and INL work to make the police more disciplined and regain the trust of Kenyan citizens.
INL is committed to combating wildlife trafficking through technical assistance to support rangers, police, customs officials, investigators, prosecutors, and judicial staff in Kenya. INL works with NGOs to implement activities that enhance prosecutorial and judicial capacity to convict wildlife criminals, and law enforcement investigative capabilities to respond to and deter wildlife crimes.
Finally, Kenya is part of the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) announced by President Obama at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in August 2014. SGI is a multi-year effort to improve security sector governance for partner countries to more effectively address security challenges. SGI will support the development of sound policies, institutional structures, systems, processes, and effective management methods so that governments may efficiently and effectively deliver security in a sustainable way.
Through direct relations and implementing partners, INL assistance has led to enhanced IPOA capacity by providing embedded mentors, investigative training, forensic equipment and an entire automated case management system. With INL’s assistance, IPOA has now completed hundreds of investigations, with close to 50 being referred for prosecution, as well as producing countless reports on policing operations and welfare issues.
The NPSC, an SGI beneficiary, has an embedded advisor to help with the development of policies, regulations, and human resources strategies, as well as assistance to help vet all Kenyan police officers, which is required by law. INL also works with the National Police Service to support the IAU, which now has close to 50 investigators guided by an INL-funded embedded mentor. INL sends IAU investigators to various trainings throughout the year.
INL has also partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to support efforts to increase security at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi.
Finally, INL supports the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and its associated implementation plan by strengthening criminal justice responses to wildlife crime in Kenya through six grants awards to NGOs in March 2015.