Transforming The Kenyan Security Profession One Step At A Time By George Mochengo

With a growing international readership, TPSO asked one of Africa’s most respected security industry leaders, George Mochengo, to give us an insight into industry development and training in Kenya….


The Kenyan security industry is straddled with a diverse range of industry players ranging from well established international and local companies, small and medium enterprises (SME’s), and a rising plethora of fast-growing small companies. Until recently, despite a Private Security Regulations Act No. 13 of 2016, players have been largely self-regulating. This saw most players setting their own standards and controls with partial or total disregard of the act. 

This opened the industry to every Dick, Tom and Harry/ (Mary) with over 5,000 companies, making little effort to professionalize and bring order to the industry. Consequently, this resulted in stagnation and eroding the semblance of reputation and goodwill the industry had.

However, with the recent enacting of the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016 (General Regulations), all security practitioners and stakeholders will be regulated by the Private Security Regulations Authority. This means that all players will be required to follow strict standards and regulations.

One area that will benefit from the act and will go a long way in professionalizing the industry is training and certification. The benefits of training and certification cannot be overemphasized especially now when the industry is focusing on a risk-based approach, as opposed to the traditional security approach. The latter, which is security-centric, concentrates on existing controls against perceived threats, and is reactive and dependent on individual heroics.

A Risk-based approach, on the other hand, is proactive, process-centred, and adaptive and aligns security with strategic drivers like resilience, crisis management and business continuity. This is the adopted trend in training and certification by accredited security institutions like the International Security Management Institute (ISMI) and ASIS International with Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM).

Unfortunately, as indicated before, the industry is bedecked with the traditional security-centric approach, an outlook that can only be reversed by encouraging industry players to consider training and certification.

One such group that has taken the lead to promote and encourage its members and the local security practitioners to embrace training and certification is ASIS International, Kenya Chapter.

ASIS International Kenya Chapter started in April 2018 with about 30 members under the leadership of Brig Gen (Rtd.) Ahamed Mohammed, CPP® as Chairman and Charles Oloo, CPP® as Secretary-General. Apart from benchmarking in security best practice and competence, the group’s priority was to form a study cohort to prepare for the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification.

By January 2019, nine members had registered and prepared themselves to undertake the certification. During this time there were less than five Certified Professional Professionals (CPP’s) and only one triple certified (CPP, PSP and PCI) in the country. This looked like a gargantuan task.

Undoubtedly, certifications are becoming the norm in almost every industry today, not only internationally but also in the local setting. This helped to urge them on.

Locally, Human Resources practitioners are required to be trained and certified as Certified Human Resource Professionals (CHRP’s) in an effort to weed out quacks. The Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) early this year noted that new certifications are part of their wide-ranging reforms to guarantee professionalism. Professional Public Accountants (CPA (K)), Public Secretaries (CPS (K)) and lawyers are pioneers of certifications which enhanced advance the professions.

Apart from advancing professions, certification enhances skills, competence, knowledge and peer-to-peer acceptance and recognition. It also shows the commitment to learning and keeping abreast with new developments in the profession. With this in mind, the study cohort was rearing to go.

The team, under the leadership and tutorship of the Chairman, met every Saturday and the mode of study included assigning a member a topic to research and present to the team, group discussion and coaching, especially by the Chairman and setting test questions and marking and correcting. Seven members of the cohort booked to sit for their certification in April, one in June and one was deferred. Come April and true to a military general, the Chairman not only declared that the seven were ready to sit for the certification but he also decided to take the certification three days earlier to motivate his team. The General had crossed the Rubicon.

The Chairman took his test and passed, and three days later his six colleagues sat for the exam and they all passed. In one stroke the number of Certified Protection Professionals in the country had doubled. This was an outstanding feat and big motivation in building the foundation stone for more certifications.

The seven freshly qualified Certified Protection Professionals are listed below:

  1. Maj Gen. (Rtd.) Ahamed Mohammed, CPP® – the Chairman and leader of the team. He was the brainchild of reviving ASIS International Kenya Chapter. A retired military general he has the vision and passion of transforming the security profession landscape in the country.
  2. Charles Oloo, CPP®, pioneer of reviving ASIS International Kenya Chapter. An astute communicator, he does not miss an opportunity to articulate the importance of security training, certification and professionalisms. He heads Burton Consortium a security and risk consultancy he built from scratch.
  3. Tom Kipyegon, CPP®, PSP®, PCI®, a passionate and articulate security professional. He has been at the forefront of promoting security professionalism by boldly expressing his views in the mainstream media. He went on to set the bar high by being the first among the cohort to attain the board’s triple certification. He heads the security function at Kenya Nut Company.
  4. Capt. (Rtd.) Raymond Osimbo, CPP®, CSMP®, a security consultant with wide experience in corporate and event security.
  5. Bernard Makau, CPP® a physical security consultant with wide experience in security risk and threat assessment.
  6. Joseph Wainaina, CPP®
  7. Geoffrey Onkundi, CPP®

In June, the eighth member of the cohort Sam Koskei, CPP®, CSMP® the Security Manager of one of the leading media houses in the region, Standard Media, sat for the test and was successfully certified closing the chapter to the amazing cohort that only dreamt of certification when they started out.

Since June, the chapter has recorded three more Certified Protection Professionals (CPP’s), several Protection Security Professionals (PSP) and Private Certified Investigators (PCI’s) and two illustrious triple certifications. Currently, there is the second team of four studying for the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) exam, and definitely, we will see the numbers rising.

This great performance, and networking by the members, has seen the number of chapter members rising to more than 80!

This experience, definitely, brought the chapter members out of their comfort zone, what with a broad body of knowledge to be mastered before sitting for the certification, the time commitment and management, classes and meetings, all these build on one’s leadership skills.

We are seeing more members coming out strongly and participating in the development of the chapter and by extension their personal development. Consequently, they will go out and live the values, promote best practice, and more importantly, change the mindset of the security-centric practitioners towards a risk-based approach one step at a time.

George Mandere Mochengo

George Mandere Mochengo

A Certified security management professional (CSMP®) with 12 years + experience and a proven knowledge of corporate security, asset protection and emergency preparedness, George rose through the ranks from a security officer to a contract manager in charge of blue chip corporate clients at G4S Kenya. Currently he is a security management consultant in Nairobi.

  • Certified Security Management Professional (CSMP®)
  • Member, International Security Management Institute (ISMI)
  • Member, ASIS International Kenya Chapter
  • Member, Protection and Safety Association of Kenya (PROSAK)
  • Member, Kenya Red Cross
  • Member, Toastmasters International