The recent announcement that the county government of Mombasa would introduce a fleet of 25 new patrol vehicles which will assist in its security strategy seems to have rubbed many the wrong way. There are already a number of police vehicles patrolling the county, which were introduced by the government last year. The new fleet, which will be fitted with 360-degree cameras will be operated exclusively by officers from the country’s traffic inspectorate.
The new fleet, to be launched in a ceremony which both the Inspector General of Police and the Interior Secretary are expected to grace, has elicited sharp reactions from sections of the Mombasa residents. Some see this as a waste of resources. Many have questioned the wisdom in buying more cars without first ensuring roads in the county are in good condition.
Roy Dzilla, a resident in the Count thinks the government needs to get its priorities right, and sort out issues with roads such as the Kisauni-Kiembeni road and drainage systems in the county; as well as investing in health care which is in more dire need of resources.
“Instead of flashy cars, we need to prioritize development in terms of infrastructure; proper drainage, good roads and sound health policies. Bamburi roads is a mess. Let the county government invest first in infrastructure and thereafter buy their toys,” he said.
Most citizens were quick to suggest things that were of more priority to them instead of the cars. These suggestions included better roads, bursaries, security among others. However, health care was the most commonly suggested use with most decrying the sorry state of the county hospitals and the lack of ambulances as can be seen on social media posts below.
Still, some think it’s a step in the right direction.
“Let us improve security first and development will automatically follow,” says Diruph PH, a Mombasa resident.
Some like Japheth Karanja from Likoni think it’s a bad idea not to involve the Kenya Police in the new initiative, saying this will only go far their stretching the already poor relations between the county government and the national government represented by the County Commissioner Nelson Marwa.
“Security is not a devolved function.”
Mzee Hassan, however, cautions that efforts such as this may amount to nothing if the cameras and vehicles are not maintained by trustworthy people as the video evidence may very well be tempered with by unscrupulous individuals. There’s also fear that the county inspectorate may turn into some kind of ‘police force’ or become an extortion machine without control as they are not trained legal enforcement officers.
A liaison office will be sent to monitor video recordings, communication and linkages, it was announced.