In Summary
  • Ipoa commissioner Doreen Muthaura said the proposal to create these sections in cells and borstal institutions was part of a task force report on the matter.
  • Commissioner Walter Ogony said the move will help address cases of sodomy in police custody and incidents of inmates tormenting each other.
  • Ipoa further expressed concern about an increase in the misuse of firearms and killing of police officers following proposals to arm private guards.
  • The commissioners also spoke of challenges, citing inadequate funding to keep watch over the more than 100,000 police officers across the country.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) wants intersex cells established in police premises in order for their rights to be protected.

Ipoa commissioner Doreen Muthaura said the proposal to create these sections in cells and borstal institutions was part of a task force report on the matter.

Commissioner Walter Ogony said the move will help address cases of sodomy in police custody and incidents of inmates tormenting each other.

“The confinement rooms should also have cameras and be fitted with alarm bells so they can raise alarm if in danger,” Dr Ogony said during a breakfast meeting of the Ipoa and the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi.

Stephen Musau, Ipoa's director of inspections, research and monitoring, called for a total overhaul of police premises to cater for intersex individuals and for alignment with the standards for protection of human rights.

THIRD GENDER

The term intersex describes a person born with sex characteristics - genitalia, gonads, hormones and chromosomes - that do not match the typical male or typical female body.

As such, there has been a push for Kenya to create laws that recognise intersex as the third gender.

At the breakfast meeting, commissioner John Waiganjo said the group should be captured in the population census.

It has been difficult to tell the number of intersex individuals in Kenya as many seek anonymity due to stigma while some are unaware of their state.

ARMED GUARDS

Ipoa further expressed concern about an increase in the misuse of firearms and killing of police officers following proposals to arm private guards.

“No private security service providers should be armed as it poses a huge challenge. Note that even members of the National Police Service, who are trained to use firearms, are misusing them,” Ms Muthaura said.

She also noted misuse of guns by members of formations outside the mandate of the Ipoa, such as the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya Forest Service.

Ms Muthaura said the law should be amended to allow the watchdog to monitor all armed forces.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Ipoa commissioners led by chairperson Anne Makori, the second team that took over in October 2018, highlighted the organisation's successes since it was formed seven years ago to ensure police accountability.

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