Police Spokesman Charles Owino is set to retire in December from the National Police Service (NPS) to run for Siaya’s Governor seat in the 2022 polls.
His current role involves speaking on behalf of all police services, AP and Kenya police as well as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The Siaya Governor’s position is currently held by Cornel Rasanga who is serving his second and final term.
Addressing Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) delegates from Alego/Usonga in Usonga ward the spokesman stated, “I never wanted to declare my political interest here today but because my father has reminded, who am I not to show you a direction, you are aware that next year people will declare interests in various positions and as a person who has worked in government, my age will have clocked 50 which allows me to resign.”
He expressed confidence, with full awareness that the seat was attracting many contenders including Senator James Orengo, adding: “I hope he (Orengo) and other potential contenders are much prepared for the race or else they will be disappointed at the ballot box.”
Owino asserted his commitment to the government-at whose pleasure he serves- that aligns with his intention to run under the ODM party following the recent activities centred around the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
In 2015, he amused a vetting panel when he described himself as the only living solution to the problems bedevilling the police service.
Asked why he had short stints in various stations he said: “It is because of my radical, progressive and honest nature. My nature is, to tell the truth.”
The spokesman has been the subject of outrage for many Kenyans for his passionate defense of the police in cases of alleged brutality and extra-judicial killings.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it the infamous curfew and stringent health directives such as social distancing and donning of masks. Kenyans raised concerns on the heavy-handedness of Police in enforcing the measures, resulting in injuries and deaths.
The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) reported 15 deaths and 31 injuries as of late March 2020, where victims sustained injuries that were directly linked to actions of police officers during the curfew enforcement. Owino didn’t deny the pandemic-era police killings but said officers weren’t out to do harm, and “if a policeman did such a thing, it’s a simple thing, make a report.”
Kenyans expressed their dissatisfaction with the service for not delivering the justice and reforms they expected from the NPS
In retort, the spokesman stated that the media’s portrayal of officers working the curfew shifts was unfair “I don’t think it’s fair to simply just discuss the wrongdoing of the police because the limits that I have is that we have institutions that deal with this,” asserted Owino.
Previously, Owino oversaw security matters in Kisumu County after being transferred transferred from Ndhiwa constituency. He is a career officer who has risen through the ranks to his current rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police and also served as an investigator in the DCI and also police chief in Njoro.
Yet again, Owino has sparked conversations following the revelation of his political ambitions.