Q&A With President of the Kenya Private Security and Safety Federation, Cosmas Mutava

August 9, 2021

Cosmas Mutava, the president of the Kenya Private Security and Safety Federation, answers questions from the public via Sunday Nation.

Private security guards are poorly remunerated yet the amount of work they do is a lot. With the onset of Covid-19, they now guard, offer sanitisers and take temperatures besides doing clerical duties of recording details of visitors. Is this something that concerns the federation? Clement Ongwae, Westlands

Security guards are currently paid based on the structure outlined in the labour laws and as defined by open market forces. Our members adhere to lawful pay scales. We encourage the public to procure security services from members who follow labour laws. We demand the formation of the Private Security Wages Council to enforce minimum wage regulation.

What’s your take on Nyumba Kumi initiative? Komen Moris, Eldoret

Nyumba Kumi is a fantastic security concept if properly implemented. The State’s commitment to this idea has, however, been lacklustre. Nyumba Kumi is an important national activity and its implementation and impact can further be strengthened by enhancing a close working relationship between the public and private sector in enhancing it.

Why don’t you have a harmonious working relationship with Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSU) and Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA)? Kamau Mwangi, Thika

It is normal for trade unions and employers to pull in opposite directions due to their competing interests. This is the case all over the world. Having said that, the public may need to understand that the federation comprises various private security companies that have created hundreds of jobs for Kenyans. Without creation of jobs, we might not have unions in place. We support employee rights and it is important for union officials to understand that it is not a fighting contest. Our key interest is job creation and support for the economy.

How has Covid-19 affected the private security industry? And what measures has the federation taken to cushion members? Stephen Nchoe, Kitengela

Our federation in conjunction with ministries of Interior and Health conducted training of trainers on Covid-19 with the hope of cascading the knowledge to 700,000 security guards and thousands of police officers, thus, raising awareness.

Covid-19 has hit the security industry hard as some workers go unpaid. Further, security officers/guards have taken extra roles like taking the temperature of citizens and ensuring people keep social distances and wear masks.

Why is your association fighting attempts by the government to streamline the sector? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

We support reforms that will improve our sector. We have been fighting for the rights of our members as well as the welfare of our staff to ensure we have a balance in the current turbulent market. The government has a key role to regulate the sector and as a federation, we have been calling for an all-inclusive approach to finding lasting solutions.

Is there a way to protect employers against private guards who leak information? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

Like all domestic staff and other company employees, guards have access to sensitive client information. Guards are vetted by their employers and some are made to sign confidentiality codes. Like all other citizens, they are subject to both criminal and civil laws of the land. We encourage our people to use data protection laws as well as CCTV policy.

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