Maj. Gen. Mohamed Hussein Ali, a Kenya Air Force officer, was the first non-policeman appointed to head Kenya’s police force. When President Kibaki handed him the job in 2004, the police were among the country’s most corrupt public servants, and crime was still high despite the president’s election promises to tackle it. Ali quickly focused on clamping down on mafia-like militia running extortion and protection rings in slums across the country, and on beefing up security in the largely ungoverned north. When he was sidelined to head Kenya’s Postal Corporation in 2009, he left am unenviable legacy – Kenya’s police are still regularly voted the most likely to demand a bribe.
During the post-election violence, evidence mounted that police officers under Ali’s command were operating far outside the norms of crowd control. Many injured protesters who turned up at the hospital had gunshot wounds – despite the fact that most of their rivals brandished machetes and bows and arrows, not firearms. Since the violence, hundreds of women have come forward to allege that they were raped by the police, and there have been several reports that officers were responsible for setting fire to properties. The ICC prosecutor accuses Ali of ordering this level of excessive force, and of doing so more against Kibaki’s rivals than his supporters.