Two State agencies lock horns over private security training in Kenya

Two state agencies are fighting over the training and licensing of private security guards, in a dispute that might delay plans to professionalise the sector that continues to attract new investors.

The clash started when the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) wrote to the National Industrial Training Authority (Nita), accusing the body of overstepping its mandate after holding a meeting early this month, to discuss a new curriculum for the training of the private security guards.

There are about 700,000 private security guards in close to 2,000 companies across the country. The government has been trying to regulate the sector and set a minimum wage for guards at Sh27,000 a month. PSRA director general Fazul Mahamed accused Nita of convening an illegal meeting to discuss matters under the mandate of his authority.

In a July 6 letter, Mr Mohamed said it was wrong for Nita to hold the meeting without involving the private security regulator. He said there exists “a functional and fully operational” private security training curriculum.

He warned that PSRA will not recognise any curriculum developed by Nita and would not hesitate to withdraw licences of private security firms that participated in the stakeholders’ meeting. “The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to ask Nita to refrain from covering and participating in such illegal activities and must seek the concurrence of the Private Security Regulatory Authority in any matter relating to the private security industry,” he stated.
Nita boss Stephen Ogenga maintained the authority was within its powers because its mandate includes developing industrial training curricula.

“Thus your presumption that the same was illegal and unauthorised is devoid of any basis in law or otherwise. It is further noted that you were invited to meeting vide a letter dated 24th June 2022 and email dated 30th June 2022 both of which you never responded to nor did you attend or delegate attendance,” Mr Ogenga said. He noted in the letter that there was a need to develop a collaborative framework that will enhance service delivery by the two institutions.

“However, effective synergy cannot be achieved through exchange of letters,” he said.
Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) chairman Cosmas Mutava supported Nita saying it was within its mandate. There has been a push by the government, through the Authority for the guards to undertake fresh vetting but it was put on hold after protests in 2019.