Government has broken up the country’s police force – taking away the all-powerful Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which now becomes a separate entity.
Internal Security Minister Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana told journalists Thursday that the new changes remove conflict of interest which has emerged in some cases.
“Previously a police officer that committed a crime would be investigated by their colleagues. This was a problem,” said the Minister at a post-cabinet meeting press conference. “The investigations agency should be independent.”
According to cabinet resolutions from the Wednesday session, the Police CID will be renamed Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) – an autonomous agency.
The same changes will be effected on the Police training college which has also been elevated to operate separately. The Police training institution will become the Rwanda Law Enforcement Academy – operating under the ministry of Justice.
Regionally, Kenya has unsuccessfully tried to separate CID from the regular police. In 2009, as a result of the post-election political turmoil, the opposition demanded that the arresting and investigating arms of the police be separated.
There had been longstanding allegations from the opposition that the police was being used by government to silence its critics.
With two separate entities, argued the proponents of the breakup, influence peddling by the police chief would be eliminated. Kenya’s CID remains under the police chief.
The Rwanda police CID has been head by commissioner for CID, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege – reporting to the Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana.
It is not clear yet as to whether Theos Badege will automatically take up the new agency or a new chief will be named.
There is already plenty to handle for the new agency. Since July last year, the CID has the ‘Anti – corruption and Public Fund Embezzlement Unit’ – which is spearheading the government’s fierce anti-graft stance.
Hundreds of officials have been jailed and many more under investigation. Cabinet also decided that Ministry of Justice will oversee the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) that handles all the country’s prisons. It has been under the Internal Security Ministry.
Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said that rendering justice will be sped up – unlike in previous situations where investigations and eventual prosecution had to go through various agencies.
According to minister Busingye, the new changes are aimed at strengthening institutions to ensure better service delivery.