Five Things That Will Make You Revisit The Private Security Bill In Kenya

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 5187 Views 1 Comments

The last three decades has seen the rise of private security companies both in numbers and importance especially after the rise of security issues such as terrorism and after the infamous west gate attack. The failure of the government to pass the contentious security bill leads to the need for a further review of what’s at stake should it fail. The following are the current facts at hand:

Recruitment’s and Numbers:

The last 3 years has seen the rise of security companies ranging between 2000 to 4000 companies which employ an outstanding 300,000 recruits and employees which out numbers even the general number of the police and army in totality (Mulupi, 2014). As if this is not enough there is an estimate 60-100 fresh graduates within these security industries weekly. The need has risen as Kenya continues to take center stage as an economic powerhouse within Eastern Africa as it immensely faces terror threats.


An unprecedented number of private security companies have been set up by many zealous entrepreneurs’ former military men from various places in the world including the U.S, Israeli, and U.K among others. Kenya is host to companies like Agility (humanitarian logistics), Salama Fikira (specialized security), SENACA Special Services (specialized security) and Ridgeback (specialized security) among dozens of other companies most of which are run by Special Forces veterans from the United States, the British and South Africa armies (Security Hub Degree, 2014).
For example, one of Salama Fikira’s principal officers Rob Andrew worked in the SAS of Britain, one of the world’s most elite Special Forces that carry missions in high risk war situations. The other is Conrad Thorpe who has served with the British Royal Marines and the Special Boat Service. Both are decorated with Order of the British Empire (OBE) honors.

Terry Downes, the CEO of SENACA East Africa is a former member of the Irish Army’s Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Unit. The company also employs close protection officers with experience in protecting high profile individuals like former US President Bill Clinton, musician 50 Cent and sports people like Mike Tyson.
Another group of resident companies includes recruiting agencies like Sentry Security and Silver Ray Ltd that recruit Kenyans with experience in the military or the police to act as armed guards for United States and British personnel and facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. These companies are fully licensed by the Ministry of Labor indicating the government’s support for such talent export (S Mbogo, n.d.).

Weak System:

Tapping into a system that is full of under paid service men who would do anything to fend for their families is of danger to the society at large. It is true that some of the companies pay up to 400$ a day for services hence their ability to attract young eager ex-military or police. Speculation and history however has it that Kenyans will not act until a big event triggers the decision.

Lessons from South Africa:

South Africa being one of the first countries to embrace the use of Private Security Companies has been on a real spiral of events as the number of its citizens deployed across the continent such as Angola, Sierra Leone among others. Thus being the first African State to come up with a private security regulation bill.
Considering the large number of youths being recruited into private security companies and the obvious number of citizens who fail to make the cut during training’s the impending question is where do the individuals who do not make the cut go to? How much are they contributing towards being a security threat?

On an assumption: should ¼ of the recruits fail to meet the “cut” after the rigorous training they undergo to get into the companies using the number given above of about 300,000 people that means there is an estimate 75,000 individuals trained in military /police skills roaming the streets . With the rise of contemporary issues such as radicalization, its appealing pay and also the little effort it requires to get a trainer then :it means that at least one trained individual can train at least 10 new recruits which magnifies the issues at hand .

Anyway at the end of the day; we do know there are contentious issues surrounding the bill but there is need to hasten its review before things spiral out of hand and we are unable to take things back.


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