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New Kenya law has made it almost impossible for President to take charge of security

HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA

HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Efforts are being made to arrest the runaway insecurity in various parts of the country. However, they have so far been unsuccessful and Kenyans can no longer trust their security organs that appear overwhelmed.

Following the promulgation of the new Constitution, a myriad oversight and supervisory bodies were established which, in practice, hinder the smooth operations of security organs.

The Inspector-General of Police Service cannot move without being held back by the Police Oversight and Service commissions.

The NIS Director-General has to divide his time between gathering intelligence and appearing before parliamentary committees. The tragedy is that these oversight bodies comprise some members with neither security nor intelligence knowledge or backgrounds.

An obsession with the regime of President Moi amongst some of those who crafted the new Constitution also made them lose sight of the fact that he had completed his term, and behaved as if they were making an anti-Moi document.

Rather than address the salient concerns for Kenya’s security, they focused solely on shackling the presidency. In the process, they introduced articles that are inimical to the maintenance of law and order and public security.

What is even more worrying, there does not seem to be any coordination among various security organs. Little criminal intelligence is gathered in advance as the security agencies seem to be more reactive than preventive.

They have no new ideas and use the same age-old solutions for emerging crimes: Deny anything you can get away with, issue threats you cannot carry out, or blame politicians, facilitators, saboteurs, etc.

Threat of disarmament is a popular theme but no one in Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Marsabit or Moyale counties will surrender their arms without actual security guarantees. If threatened with punitive operations, they will surrender some old firearms and acquire more sophisticated ones. The same happens in the North Eastern counties.

Sadly, community policing is hampered by corruption and police complicity in crime. Nyumba Kumi is a noble idea, but it glosses over police failure to establish networks that can prevent crime.

Serious crimes of terrorism, drug trafficking, kidnapping and carjacking call for more than just Nyumba Kumi. Exchange of information and collaboration in criminal and security intelligence are imperative to cover national, trans-border and trans-national crimes.

NO RESOLUTION IN SIGHT

Technical and human resources properly applied can help in this endeavour. How does one explain how a tout would come all the way from Naivasha to purchase a hand-gun in Eastleigh while the security officers stationed there have no clue?

While insecurity has spread like wildfire, politicians have instead taken turns shouting at one another, often using unpalatable language.

The incidents of insecurity pile up with seemingly no resolution in sight. Firstly, and for quite some time, it was inter-tribal killings in northern Kenya, mainly attributed to cattle raids, pasture and boundary disputes.

Then followed the massacre of policemen in Suguta Valley, whose deaths were considered so insignificant that no national mourning was forthcoming.

And then there was the Tana River bloodbath followed by poaching, whose scale and intensity indicate culpability of well-connected operatives. Not only does it have an adverse effect on tourism, it may also be funding terrorists.

Compounded with this are the all-too-frequent terrorist raids ranging from grenade attacks and shootings to the catastrophic Westgate siege and the recent massacre in Mpeketoni. While politicians were quick to apportion blame, the lack of patriotism and unity of purpose while Kenya is burning is appalling.

Widows and orphans were shocked to learn that there was prior notice of these attacks yet their loved ones were left alone! It was ironic that with the top brass in Mpeketoni and all eyes focused there, 15 more lives were lost. Even more telling were the Gamba and Hindi massacres. How many more Kenyans must die before someone takes responsibility?

If there was prior knowledge of the attack in Mpeketoni, what assistance was given to the forces on the ground? Given that this is hostile territory in a far-flung area, why was the GSU company at Mkoe not sent to Mpeketoni to pre-empt the attack? Why was there no helicopter on standby? Who was in command and the date and time of the attack?

Politicians should take security seriously and come together for the good of Kenya. Sadly, they only do so to increase their emoluments.

They should heed the call by the President that security is everyone’s responsibility. They should let him take charge and accord him all the necessary support to secure Kenya.

By Mr Kibati a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police/Assistant Director of Intelligence

-Nation

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