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Overflowing in-tray as Noordin Haji takes spymaster office

NTV Kenya
Thursday June 15, 2023

Former DPP Noordin Haji was on Wednesday sworn in as the NIS director-general at State House, Nairobi a day after House Intelligence Committee gave nod to his nomination as the country’s next spymaster and got Parliament’s approval.

During the swearing-in ceremony,  President William Ruto urged Haji to steer the institution by

working towards building intelligence services in the country to tackle common challenges.

“At a time when the world is experiencing so many challenges ranging from conflict due to climate change and resource conflict and the big issue of terror around our globe and region and any other security challenges that affect us including the whole arena of constraints surrounding the economy, we need a lot of intelligence to manage the economy and all the other aspects of our nation,” he said.

Noordin Hajji faces a herculean task as he assumes the top spy’s office.

Insufficient intelligence

At backbone of the country’s security operations and Intelligence Haji’s in-tray is one that is filled with past undoings on the basis of insufficient or inaccurate intelligence.

The most recent being the Shakahola massacre that has exposed faults and laxity within the country’s intelligence service, leaving the government with egg on its face.

The President was forced to own up to the embarrassing fault as the body count now crossing the 300 mark.

”…As the President, Shakahola should not have happened. For that I truly say I’m sorry…”- President William Ruto said in a past event.

Insecurity; Terrorism and banditry

As the Shakahola bizarre cult deaths unfold, news of Fresh attacks by the Al-Shabaab Militia have peeled healing wounds.

At least 12 Soldiers reported dead in two separate IED attacks in Sangailu area in Garissa and Mararani in Lamu County.

The new spymaster will have to contain the upsurge in the attacks and slow the militants tempo as the country continues to triumph in the war against terror from a dark past to reduced terror attacks.

Boarder-point conflict

Another File in Haji’s in-tray is the planned operationalization of Kenya- Somalia boarder points in Mandera, Garissa and Lamu in less than 90 days

A move that was announced by Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh in May after high-level consultations in Nairobi.

While the the opening of the border will effectively end a 12-year barricade between the two countries due to security reasons, bolstered Intelligence is Key in averting security threats in the future.


With a stint to his hat as the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin has prosecuted Politicians and prominent people accused of corruption but many cases have been dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence causing uproar among Kenyans.

All eyes are on him to determine whether he’ll continue the war on corruption ensuring sufficient evidence is gathered through intelligence to create water-tight cases that will stand in court.

President Ruto’s pick for the Top Spy goes against the grain and preference of his predecessors. The three Spymasters before Noordin Haji were all picked from the Military.

Initially, NIS was known as the Special Branch, a Department under the Kenya Police Department created by the British Colonial Government in 1952.

It was however disbanded when Parliament passed a new act that replaced the Special Branch with NSIS in 1998.

Brigadier (rtd) Wilson Boinett would serve as the Intelligence boss till 2006 Succeeded by Major General Michael Gichangi

However, Gichangi did not complete his Second term and resigned from his position in August 2014 citing personal reasons but undertones sufficed that he was at loggerheads with the then Chief of Defense forces general Julius Karangi and the Inspector General of Police Julius Karangi.

Gichangi was succeeded by Major General Phillip Kameru who has served for 9 years at the service to 2023.