The newly appointed Commissioner General of Police Emmanuel Gasana is expected to take office today. In an exclusive interview ,The New Times’ Edwin Musoni caught up with the new Police chief where he revealed that his appointment is poised to take a unique approach to the leadership of the police force. Excerpts.
Q. You have been promoted in the military and then transferred to the police. Briefly tell us about your background and experience?
I have a first degree in business administration and a masters degree in diplomacy and international studies from the University of Nairobi and recently I got another Masters degree in environment management from the United Kingdom.
Along with this I have two diplomas one in public administration which I feel is very important to mention here and a postgraduate diploma in human resource development.
On the professional level within the military , I have gone through all the career courses starting with the junior, staff courses and company level commander courses.
Thereafter I have attended the senior commanders and relevant staff courses in Ghana and Kenya.
So, both packages of academic and professional courses have shaped me in a way that I should have an outlook of collective approach, a vision and a strategy that will assist me to handle my new calling within the police.
Q. What management style are you taking to the police?
My management and leadership style is all about policy direction, strategic guidance and focus on managing the internal security processes.
Managing these process means that you have to make sure that at a higher level you monitor and evaluate the whole picture.
So my style is not to just become a manager that oversees and supervises the personnel and the logistics but to manage the processes as well in a more coherent manner. That is what I feel is important.
Q. What creative initiatives do you intent to advance the Police and what do you intend to do the first couple weeks on the job?
I intend to emphasize more on inclusiveness and synergy to make sure that when I talk about reengineering, I am thinking about a collective approach.
By creating a roadmap I mean having benchmarks and a work plan that would monitor the processes along the way.
Also, as a form of reengineering I am thinking about drastic changes in form of having the processes in place through a robust monitoring mechanism.
Q. What are the top 3 fundamental questions you want to ask your subordinates upon your arrival in the office?
First of all I would like to be familiar with the working environment, the existing management structures and then analyze key issues that would need quick reaction, quick intervention and quick responses as the new chief. I also what to see strategies both short term and long term.
Q. Does that mean that you may consider reforming the entire national police?
Reforms always happen. There are always readjustment to be made for public institutions like the police. However, I would look at the terms of reference as well as what the police standing orders say. All these I have to acquaint myself with.
Q.The media has been reporting extensively cases of rape, drug abuse and assault among other crimes happening countrywide. What is your strategy to curb these crimes?
Incidences of crime are not static all the time they come and go. Once systems have been instituted to curb a particular incidence another form of crime pops up.
In such a situation all I can say is that jointly with the police personnel and various stakeholders we should be able to completely eliminate these crimes or have them contained to some levels.
In this regard there is need for that sort of cooperation for the purposes of meeting the intended objective.
Q. Cyber crimes constitute one of the most serious security threats in the modern world today. What plans do you have for the protection of our community from such crimes?
We should be proactive regarding protecting our nation from such threats.Because of the situation we are in and the technological development things unfolding threats like cyber crimes will most probably keep coming in.
But we should however seek cooperation with neighbors and the rest of the international community and sign protocols to make arrangements of curbing cross border crimes.
Sharing information on monitoring and evaluation and follow-ups will also serve to boost the deterrent levels to be put in place. With that in mind then along the way I am sure we can deal with the cyber crimes.
Q. Community policing is one of the ingredients of our security system. How do you think this initiative can be reinforced for the purposes of seeking better outcomes?
Empowering the police in the aspect of community policing is a very important factor because we are actually thinking about several other actors as this initiative is in itself is a springboard and a pivot for whatever we are doing as a security agency.
We feel the community awareness is very important and therefore we shall try to bring them on board and sensitize them and make them understand that this initiative is a very fundamental concept of our overall operations.
Q. What are your intended programmes for modernizing the police further in terms of increasing the force strength and through use of new approaches such as ICT?
I would say that the approach is actually a two way concept; much as we may want to beef up the police the way you suggest, there is need for modernizing the police.
Today we are talking about Rwanda being an IT hub in the region…you may be having a few policemen on the station but actually when you have the information this is key to enhancing security.
So it’s all about getting information and quick response to situations and threats.
We may also consider additional recruitment, retaining current staff and sustaining new initiatives for the purposes of enabling the police to serve the nation well.
We will also look at having some of the specialized professional skills needed sto boost our capacities across board.
Q. Just a few months back, the office of the ombudsman released a report which ranked the national police among the most corrupt of the public institutions. How are you planning to approach this issue?
Let me make this categorically clear here, that I will come out very strongly in my duties to fight this.
I will ensure an environment of a corrupt free service men and women within the entire force. It is in line with the government policies, it is in line with the President’s intentions and it is within our terms of reference.
The worst situation is one in which an institution whose mandate is to fight crimes including corruption such as the police is actually involved in those malpractices.
I should pass this message that jointly with others we will make sure that those corruption tendencies are stopped and may be not only the police force but we shall seek cooperation with other agencies to make sure that we are jointly addressing this issue.
Q. We have had cases within the East African Community whereby military Generals like you have been transferred to lead the police force. Consequently there are concerns that governments in the region are militarizing the police, what is your take on this?
I should say that when it comes to national security there are several considerations that should be made. Therefore it is the intention of the leaders to consider people that have the necessary skills.
Personally I have said in this interview that I have gone through several relevant courses.
So when it comes to setting policy, strategy and leadership of any agency what matters is qualification and experience which has informed my appointment.
So may be to some extent the authorities look at a situation whereby some of these skills are either with the military officers or those who have such backgrounds.
I can also say that such appointment from the military is part of the flexibility and appreciation of the military as the foremost or key state security agency. This flexibility has seen senior military personnel being called to serve in other capacities within government.
The military is a key state institution. Personally I do not see any problem with my appointment as long as someone goes out there and performs.
Q. Is there anything you would like to add?
First of all I would like to thank the appointing authority for entrusting me with this new responsibility.
I am also appreciative of the support that I have got from different institutions and individuals that have empowered me with training and experience which has shaped me and invested in me to enable me to ascend to this new position.