Chair: Martin Gill
Francis Shiyukah – Chief Executive Officer at Kenya Security Industry Association (KSIA)
Monicah Kimeu – Secretary General at Women In Safety Excellence (WISE)
Enock Alumasi Makanga – National Chairman of Prosak
Cosmas Mutava – Chairman of Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA)
Charles Oloo CPP – Chapter Secretary General, ASIS Kenya
Chris Otieno – Director Partnership & Resource Mobilization for KEPSOC
Cosmas Mutava notes that security in Kenya is in a better state than it was a few years back. During the crisis security has played a key role as a facilitator of business in keeping operations going in adverse circumstances. That said he outlines a major challenge in making laws clearer, and updating them, for example relating to employment, labour relations and Health and Safety. Covid-19, at least the response to it, has generated a crime wave; people have been told not to work or are prevented from working and without alternative support are turning to crime to support themselves. Cosmas calls on the Government to provide subsidies, not least to the security sector which was, rather encouragingly, designated an essential service at the start of the crisis. One of the good things to come out of the pandemic is that there has been a coming together of security stakeholders. It provides a foundation on which to build.
Moniach Kimeu also highlights the recognition of security as essential service providers as a significant positive step. What has also been key about Covid-19 is that it has shown that the security sector does not, and cannot work in isolation, and has underlined the importance of the sector and the regulator engaging meaningfully with each other. She highlights the positive role of the associations in stepping up, and welcomes the development of the National Security Congress, but confirms that this is still work in progress. Against this, Monicah highlights the plight of women during the crisis and the very specific challenges that have been generated during Covid-19. Against a background of rising crime, people sometimes being belligerent when required to follow Covid related rules (e.g. washing hands), many men not working, women often being the first to lose their jobs, women working having to be out and away a lot (in frontline security working from home is almost never a possibility), women have increasingly been the victims of domestic violence. WISE has raised this cause and will continue to do so.
Enock Alumasi Makanga points to examples of good practice by security professionals during Covid-19, he references airports as an example, and the key role played in facilitating elements of tourism to continue, key to regenerating the economy. As he states the security sector is a big employer and a driver of the economy, its strategic importance cannot be overlooked. For Enock one of the main barriers to progress is the failure of the sector to come together with Government who retain a jaundiced view of private security. Security needs to take some responsibility for this, training plays its part, in business development, but also in recognising and promoting the value adding potential of security engagement. This along with the fact that during the crisis security kept working and enabled business and Government to remain open is important.
The security sector has, it seems, being making progress during the pandemic. It still needs to build on this, and developing a meaningful engagement with Government, updating laws, working together effectively (a point also emphasised by Francis Shiyukah), educating itself so that its true potential can be realised, are all crucial. So too recognising the specific challenges faced, for example, by women, and those that are marginalised. Regulation plays a role, and all members of the panel see much potential in the sector coming together. Kenya is not alone in hoping that this is a key outcome of the difficulties that have been and are being overcome.
8th December 2020