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NIS boss Muteshi replaces Kihalangwa at Immigration services

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director of counter terrorism coordination Alexander Muteshi has been appointed the Director of immigration services. Muteshi takes over from Maj Gen (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa who was promoted and named the Principal Secretary for immigration and registration of persons. Muteshi’a appointment was made on Thursday and he was given his letter by officials at the interior ministry. Sources said he is set to take over the office on July 23. After Maj Gen Kihalangwa was named the PS in January, the deputy director Joseph Munywoki took over in acting capacity. Maj Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa has steered major reforms in the area including the introduction of e-passport.  The move is seen as part of efforts by the state to have “trusted”’people at the crucial docket at large. 

Know if news is factual and true. Text 'NEWS' to 22840 and always receive verified news updates. He will be in charge of Immigration Services Department which is in control of entry and residence of foreigners into the country. Currently, Citizenship and Immigration matters are governed by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and the Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011. The department is crucial in management of security issues in the country. He comes in at a time when the government is trying to address the issues of foreigners working in the country amid claims most of them don’t deserve to be here. The department is verifying work permits for foreigners in the country. At the onset of the work permit registration exercise, the number of foreigners cleared to work in the country had been estimated at 34,000 albeit concerns of aliens exploiting tourist visas to gain access to the country’s job market without seeking work permits. Muteshi is seen as a trusted man at the docket given he has risen through the ranks in NIS to be a director in charge of counter terrorism coordination, a key post in the service. Muteshi had last year asked the new crop of legislators to be careful with foreigners, including heads of missions, as some could use them to dig for information.  “Be very careful what you share with diplomats, they are intelligence officers,” Mr Muteshi cautioned the MPs during their induction at a city hotel. He said espionage was still a threat to national security. Muteshi, said terrorism remained the country’s greatest threat to national security, saying despite a lull in acts of terror in recent times, especially in urban areas, the threat remained high in the border counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu. He revealed some terror groups had returned to Kenya from their base in Somalia and were now targeting worship centres, areas of high human concentration including learning institutions and elders serving under the nyumba kumi initiative for their attacks. 

Muteshi told the MPs that the threats are propagated by terrorist organisations such as Al Shaabab, which has its cells in the neighbouring Somalia and ISIS, which operates in Puntland, Libya, Syria and Iraq.  “What makes the threats dangerous is that they are targeting churches, malls, schools and other public places. But the success against this, is the multi-agency approach we have adopted to deal with them,” he said. He, however, said the country was making progress in the fight against terror, saying the national counter-terrorism centre had helped in building resilience through the involvement of the youth, communities and religious groups, among other entities. He revealed that security forces were already tracking about 200 youths who had returned from Somalia and set up their base in South Coast, where they were targeting those pushing for the nyumba kumi community policing initiative, elders and security agents.

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