a new Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) laboratory
This lab will be a game-changer. Other than speeding up investigations, it will enable sleuths to process and place criminals at scenes of crime better, meaning thugs who remained on the loose for lack of evidence could now be charged for multiple offences and jailed for longer terms.
This is good news for wananchi who live in constant fear of violent robberies, grievous injuries, sexual assault and murder. Gangsters will quickly learn that the noose has tightened. On the converse, it will equally become harder to jail innocent people based on manufactured circumstantial evidence.
What is, however, disheartening are reports that the February 28 launch of the laboratory, pending since 2018, was postponed yet again due to procurement wrangles between State security agencies.
Wrangles or complications regarding the operations of this laboratory at this stage in time are a big disappointment, given that Kenyans have been waiting for this project for 25 years.
Flagged off in 1997 as part of huge security project by the Kanu government, it waded into the infamous AngloLeasing scandal in the Narc government where billions of taxpayers’ money were allegedly stolen by senior government officials working in cahoots with crooked suppliers.
Although several government officials were charged with various offences, the cases have dragged on for so long that several suspects ended up dying before the matters were concluded by the courts. It is the irony of the times that a security project intended to curb crime itself fell victim to the machinations of a criminal syndicate.
That, however, is water under the bridge. Kenyans have tasted what this laboratory can do for them and they are thirsty for more. We say this because crime has been a major stranglehold on the lives of Kenyans – causing property losses, destroying and hindering investment and occasioning injuries and loss of lives.
It is for these reasons that this laboratory, together with other investments in the security sector such as digitisation of the courts, police and land records, must be allowed to proceed without hindrance.
Ultimately, systems that keep criminals in check and have them swiftly apprehended, processed and jailed could be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s greatest legacy.
The president must therefore protect this legacy by reigning in rogue officers who are out to scuttle this noble project that has been elusive for so long. He must deliberately put effort to ensure this lab is commissioned before he leaves office in August.