A section of police officers in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, have been buying their own uniforms from civilian tailors to comply with an alleged order to wear new-look uniforms despite lack of supplies, local media report.
The police officers were reportedly told to wear the new uniforms starting on Monday. Some officers who reported to work in the old uniform were turned back, the Daily Nation and Standard newspapers report.
The National Police Service and the interior ministry have not responded to the reports.
Police officers interviewed told reporters that they had not been issued with the new-look uniforms, but were directed to civilian tailors who charge up to 5,000 Kenyan shillings ($50; £40) for a pair, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.
Some officers have opted to stay at home following the new directive because they lack funds to purchase the uniforms.
The new persian blue uniforms were launched in 2018 as part of police reforms:
To help some of the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government is paying some of them to brave open sewers to clean up their neighbourhoods.
Dressed in neon vests, masks and gumboots, they stand ankle-deep in a stinking, grey stream which runs between the corrugated iron shacks of Kibera, the largest informal settlement in the capital, Nairobi.
They scoop plastic bottles, broken shoes, dirty nappies and human faeces from the open sewer, using their metal spades and rakes.
“It’s disgusting work,” says 33-year-old Abdul Aziz, who is worried that he might get a water-borne disease like cholera because of the insanitary working conditions.
“However, this is better than staying at home, while being hungry and jobless,” the father of two children, who lost his job as a private driver at the beginning of the crisis, said.