Private Security Players Push for Inclusion

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By John Kariuki

Private security players have pushed to be included in the “Hustler” Government of His Excellency Dr William Samoei Ruto. This they said in a news conference in Nairobi

Led by Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) Secretary General Bro. Isaac GM Andabwa, the security officers cited being neglected for long and being given empty promises.

“Former president Uhuru Kenyatta had promised to look into our plight but his term ended without honouring our agreement. We want him to know that he owes us and the only hope we have is in his excellency Dr Ruto and his administration,” Mr Andabwa said.

He at the same time urged Dr Ruto to establish a permanent secretary to look into some of the pressing issues including minimum wages, being unionized and having a common training facility so as to streamline the sector.

“It is sad that private security officers in Kenya are still languishing in poverty 59 years since the country got her independence, says Kenya Private Security Workers Union secretary general Isaac Andabwa (OGW).

Andabwa said despite the critical roles the more than 800,000 guards do to compliment national security agencies across the country, they were yet to be recognized and their plight effectively addressed.

He said most of the guards were living deplorable lives due to poor terms and conditions of work including meagre pays by their employers.

Andabwa blamed the situation on minimum wage arguing that private security officers should be remunerated based on living wage due to high economy and inflation.

“My next agenda is to begin the discussion on a living wage, not minimum wage because I feel that there is nothing like minimum wage,” Andabwa added.

He termed minimum wage as mismatch stating that there were no supermarkets designated for the guards to  shop with their meagre earnings.

“We must start talking about living wage. Stroll to Kawangware for instance, a rental mabati structure goes between Sh5, 000 and Sh6, 000. The Labor CS talks about Sh1,500 rent, it isn’t practical, ” Andabwa said.

Andabwa said Sh1,800 house allowance couldn’t make guards afford houses in slums like Kawangware, Kangemi, Kibra and Mathare.

He said there were no shops and supermarkets designed for minimum wages. Guards shop in same places where leaders including the President shops.

“We need to be practical as a country, living wages allow for bargaining power.  You can’t announce Sh1,500 as house allowance, I want to assume that the government wasn’t addressing Kenyans,” Andabwa said.

“Before the government addresses wages’ issues, let it conduct research on basic goods and services like maize flour, transport, rent, fuel, and food then come up with salaries and wages of the lowly paid workers in the country,” Andabwa said.

“I believe this hustler government will address the issues of private security officers alongside other lowly paid workers in Kenya,” he said.

Andabwa said the guards shouldn’t be undermined since they protect lives and property worth billions of shillings in the country.

He said human lives protected by the guards were immeasurable.

“Our roles as guards is to protect lives and property. We have had serious security threats before and whenever there are attacks, we are the people on front line, police officers appear in patches since they can’t measure private security officers’ numbers,” Andabwa said.

Andabwa said 80 per cent of security intelligence information is found within private security. They are all over hence collect lots of information which they share with national security agencies.

He referred to guards as heroes and heroines stating than many have lost their lives while in line of duty.

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